Linemen: Powering and Saving Lives
Linemen from across the state recently gathered in at Horry Georgetown Technical College (HGTC) in Conway to compete against one another. This is an annual event and this year was sponsored by Santee Cooper along with The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina and hosted by HGTC.
For more than 20 years it has been known as the lineworker’s rodeo. But if you have ever known a lineman and if you have ever seen one in action, you know this was more than a competition; this was a gathering of individuals who love what they do, have real respect for one another and put their lives on the line daily to make ours more comfortable.
I have known many linemen in my life and most have one thing in common, they absolutely love what they do. I love to ask them why they became a lineman. They say everything from “it is what I wanted since I was little” to “the minute I put those hooks on I was hooked!”
Whether it is getting two customers back on because a fuse has blown on a sunny day or restoring power after a storm has wiped out power to most of our state, they are eager and ready to answer the call.
Linemen have something they call a brotherhood that makes them want to volunteer to head to the next county, state or island to help their fellow linemen overwhelmed by storm damage. They work together with a common goal: to restore electricity and get life back to normal, for someone else.
They wear a uniform but are not always thought of as a first responder, yet that is exactly what they are. Many times during disasters, vehicle accidents or even home fires, linemen are called on to assist before a fire fighter or law enforcement office can or should.
They often pave the way for the fire and police and in many situations help save lives. They also help make it possible for us to be cool in the summer and warm in the winter while watching our favorite TV show, Googling something, or reading our favorite book with just the right light. I, for one, really appreciate that.
Santee Cooper linemen help power South Carolina. They maintain and repair high-powered transmission lines totaling more than 5,000 miles statewide. They replace downed distribution lines downtown and fix a light on your street. They can also be found coaching Little League, helping build a local center for foster children, or teaching first responders and school children about the hazards of electricity.
So, the next time you see one in your neighborhood be sure to thank a lineman. Or, to show your support, get yourself a special South Carolina license plate from the Department of Motor Vehicles that proclaims “Powering the Palmetto State.”