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Linemen Aid in Hurricane Irma Power Restoration

Five local linemen from Menard Electric Cooperative have returned home after helping restore power to members of two cooperatives in Georgia after Hurricane Irma.

Area Servicemen Matt Wassell of Havana and Robb Hanner of Athens and Crew Leader Brandon Blair, Lineman Nick Schachtsiek and Apprentice Lineman Levi Vogt, all of Petersburg, left Saturday, September 9th, before the hurricane made land, and returned Friday, September 15th.

The hurricane’s tropical-force winds and torrential downpours causes extensive damage to Georgia’s electric infrastructure. Menard Electric’s linemen were among 5,000 cooperative workers from 25 states, 123 from Illinois, who converged in the hurricane’s impact zone to assist in restoration efforts.

According to the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, who coordinated Illinois’ volunteer efforts, peak outage estimates indicate there were more than 535,000 co-op outages in Georgia, 260,000 in Florida and 100,000 in South Carolina.

Menard Electric’s crew traveled to Carroll EMC in Carrollton, Georgia. Once power was restored to all members of that cooperative, they aided Snapping Shoals EMC in Covington, Georgia. At the height of the storm, Snappy Shoals reported 50,000 outages. Linemen worked an average of 17 hours a day, under difficult circumstances, to help rebuild the system and restore power.

“Cooperatives help one another, it’s just what we do,” says Menard Electric General Manager Alisha Anker. “We were readily in a position to send a crew to help two other cooperatives in need, so we did. Menard has answered the call for help before and we’ll do it again. We trust that if we are ever in need, help from other cooperatives will similarly head our way.”

PHOTO CUTLINE: Menard Electric Cooperative linemen Robb Hanner, Brandon Blair, Levi Vogt, Nick Schachtsiek and Matt Wassell.


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