FOR BRANT NEWS
Stories of devastation, hope and gratitude emerged from a recent journey to Long Island, New York, where two Brant County Power linemen assisted with power restoration efforts following the destruction left behind by Hurricane Sandy.
Dave Deane and Aaron Baldwin departed for Long Island on Nov. 6 in a Brant County Power truck to help clean up damage created by the super storm that struck the U.S. eastern seaboard on Oct. 29. The two men spent 10 days clearing debris and restoring power for residents who went without hydro for nearly two weeks.
“We knew it was going to be nasty,” Deane said. “There was a sea of trees down everywhere. Some roads were down to single lanes.
“A lot of the network damage seemed to be in the customers’ backyards. Just to get in the backyards we had to climb over fences, past pools and broken tree limbs.”
Complicating an already complex situation, seven inches of snow fell on Nov. 8, when another storm struck the already devastated area. Much of the progress already made was lost due to heavy snow that took down more power lines.
Deane remembers one customer who walked through four inches of water in her sandals to deliver guardian angel medallions as a show of gratitude and appreciation. She was without power for 10 days.
Deane and Baldwin were two of more than 400 Canadian linemen who traveled to New York to assist with restoration efforts. Many of the workers were housed in makeshift tents and bunkers. Deane and Baldwin were lucky enough to secure a hotel room during their stay.
Linemen worked long hours, often from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. in cold and wet conditions.
“People often think restoring power is as easy as flicking a switch and it’s back on,” Baldwin said.
Deane and Baldwin were paired with two linemen from Meeker Co-Operative out of Litchfield, Minnesota. Working together closely for 10 days, the men got to know one another and are now maintaining regular contact by e-mail.
It was the first time both men responded to a call for help outside of the Brant County Power service area. It was a positive experience and both say they would jump at the opportunity to assist again if the need arises. They left New York feeling an overwhelming sense of Canadian pride.
The Brant County Power Facebook page received an outpouring of congratulatory messages from customers and many kind words of appreciation from Long Island residents.
One gentleman commented: “Thank you Brant for helping us with the aftermath of Sandy! Long Island owes you big.”
A resident of Deer Park, New York, left this message: “Your crew in truck BCP-44 restored power to my street yesterday after 13 days of darkness. Such nice guys! Thanks!”
Deane and Baldwin will ride in Brant County Power truck 44 during the Paris Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, Dec. 1.
“We are proud of Dave and Aaron’s efforts for the excellent representation of our utility in New York,” said Brant County Power CEO Ed Glasbergen. “We should also recognize that this extra effort is made possible not only by family support, as they were away from home for 10 days, but also by our other linemen who stayed home and picked up the slack to ensure our existing customers were not adversely affected.”
Casandra Turnbull is an employee of Brant County Power.