Athens linemen heading to Florida for hurricane aid
Saturday morning a crew of six linemen from Athens Utility Board left to help with emergency efforts in Florida ahead of Hurricane Dorian. They made their way to Gainesville, home to their command center.
Lineman Dickie Slack hit the road with his crew, not knowing what's in store.
"What they're saying is it's going to be like something people have never seen before so it may be like we've never seen before,” Slack said.
This is the third year in a row Athens Utility has sent crews to storm-damaged areas. They go as part of a national mutual aid partnership. Wayne Scarbrough, AUD assistant general manager, says the teamwork is crucial.
"Typically on a job like this sometimes every pole you can see as far as you can see is on the ground along with all the wires and infrastructure,” Scarbrough said.
With Dorian reaching Category 4 force, this year will be no exception. His team is looking at a 12 hour trip south, and many more hours ahead.
“This first group of men we're sending down there will be at least a week,” he said. “It'll be seven days a week 16 to 20 hours a day most likely."
Scarbrough says for his boots on the ground guys, like Slack, bringing people power is worth the time.
"Really and truly what these guys enjoy is making life better for people and keeping the power on,” he said.
Slack, who’s been sent out three years in a row now, says he loves being able to help people in need.
"Some of them don't have anything left and their gratitude is amazing,” he said.
The men headed to Florida this year make up two full line crews. If they have to be gone for too long, Scarbrough says they'll switch out with other AUB crews to keep bringing critical aid.