The team of six consisted of Allan McCormick, Greg Dodd, Lee Crump, Gary Teague, Nick Land and Scotty Harmon. The team left at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, October 30 to help rebuild the electrical infrastructure in areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
“It was a humbling experience; it makes you appreciate what you have, and we have it pretty good here in Calhoun,” the Sandy recovery team said.
The help was requested through the Electric Cities of Georgia (ECG) as part of the American Public Power Association (APPA) Mutual Aid Agreement.
According to the group the mutual agreement is a good thing for when disasters happen, “It’s like a brotherhood,” the team said. “When the blizzard of 1993 struck here in Gordon County we had outside assistance from others because of the mutual aid agreement.”
Jon Beasley, ECG Training and Safety Superintendent, coordinated the volunteers from Calhoun, Dalton, Griffin, Ellaville, LaGrange and Elberton.
According to the team they were gone for 12 days, and helped repair damages in Garrett County, Md. and Kingwood, W. Va.
When the Calhoun team first got there they had to learn how the electrical system even operated. The team said the electrical workers that were from the area were sent to the larger cities since there were more people out of power and in need, and the teams from out of state where sent to the more rural areas.
The team said after they worked on different systems it made them appreciate the one we have here in Calhoun.
“Where we were at is where the storm collided and created the perfect storm. There was waist deep snow and trees and power poles were down everywhere,” the team said.
In Kingwood, W.Va. when the team first got there 9,000 people were out of power, but after the team had to leave to come home there was only 1,200 people still without power. But there were other teams from different areas coming in afterwards to continue the recovery efforts.
According to the team it wasn’t easy work either; they were working 16 to 20 hour shifts, and they had to get the power on in the place where they were going to stay the first couple of days they were there.
“We couldn’t work out of the truck because the snow was so deep, and the terrain was so mountainous,” the team said.
According to the team there were couples with kids having to pull water out of near by creeks to get the water they needed to get by, but the residents were still very hospitable and appreciative. The residents would give the team baked treats, after the power was restored, and one woman even bought them Little Caesars pizza.
“It was a good trip and very satisfying to help those people,” the team said. “We are very appreciative of the Mayor, Council and the electric department for allowing us to go.”