Thousands of NC linemen await deployment for Hurricane Florence

Thousands of NC linemen await deployment for Hurricane Florence

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - While thousands of coastal residents are fleeing the path of Florence, there are thousands of power line workers who will soon be heading for the areas hardest hit.

Many of them are staged in hotels all across our area just waiting for the word to move out.

For thousands of linemen, who come here from across the country, this is truly the calm before the storm.

“It’s like when they put racehorses in and those horses are so anxious because they want to get off on the run,” said Jason Mendenhall, General Foreman for ARC Utility Contractors.

Once the storm passes, they will be moving that power is out and that their expertise is needed to get the lights back on, working in very difficult conditions.

“Majority of these guys just got back from Puerto Rico,” Mendenhall added. “That was a tough struggle, it was hot, they’d have swarms of mosquitos that would get them, bugs, bug spray wouldn’t help…they wouldn’t trade it.”

Dozens were staying at the Ramada Inn in Statesville on Wednesday, working as contractors in the Carolinas for Hurricane Florence.

They leave family and friends behind to go wherever they may be needed.

“Storms are very hard on family and spouses, it’s very hard,” Mendenhall said.

And that’s what keeps them going, they say, knowing that what they will be called to do in the next few days and weeks will make a significant impact in the community they will serve, wherever it may be.

“There’s nothing else like it in the world,” Mendenhall said. “To go into a neighborhood and see everyone outside and not have any power and be hot and not have any lights and the kids and the moms and we go in there and replace the poles and when we finally turn that power on in the middle of the night and everything lights up, you just can’t help it, you feel like a superhero… nobody would ever trade what they do.”

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