Michael McWaters

Michael McWaters, SVEC

National studies consistently rank power line installers and repairers among the most hazardous jobs in the country, and for good reason. Laboring high in the air wearing heavy equipment and working directly with high voltage creates the perfect storm of a hazardous and unforgiving profession. But electric lineworkers are up to the task. These brave men and women are committed to safety, as well as the challenges of the job.

Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative’s lineworkers are responsible for keeping power flowing day and night, regardless of national holidays, birthdays, weddings or other important family milestones. Beyond the years of specialized training and apprenticeships, it takes internal fortitude and a mission-oriented outlook to be a good lineworker. In fact, this service-oriented mentality is a hallmark characteristic of lineworkers. The job requires lineworkers to set aside their personal priorities to better serve their local community.

Family Support System

To perform their jobs successfully, lineworkers depend on their years of training, experience and each other to get the job done safely.

Equally important is their reliance on a strong support system at home. A lineworker’s family understands and supports their loved one’s commitment to the greater community during severe storms and power outages.

This means in times of prolonged outages, the family and their lineworker may have minimal communication and not see each other for several days. Without strong family support and understanding, this challenging job would be all the more difficult.

“It’s a humbling experience when your spouse is out of town for so long,” said Erin Skeen, whose husband helped Gulf Coast Electric Co-op recover after Hurricane Michael. “You don’t realize how much they help at home until they aren’t there. I can’t imagine how military spouses get by alone for months at a time.”

Community Commitment

In the Suwannee Valley and across the country, electric co-op lineworkers’ mission-focused mentality of helping others often extends beyond their commitment to their work at the co-op. Lineworkers are often familiar figures in the community. SVEC’s lineworkers can be found coaching youth sports teams, volunteering for local charities and serving as leaders in their churches.

Thank You

Monday, April 8, is National Lineworker Appreciation Day. Given the dedication of Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative’s lineworkers, both on and off the job, I encourage you to take a moment and acknowledge the many contributions they make to our local community. And if you see their family members in the grocery store or out and about in the town, please offer them a thank you as well.

Michael McWaters

CEO

Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative

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