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Linemen from across the U.S. stay in Lafayette, continuing restoration of power

Posted at 11:01 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 00:09:39-04

LAFAYETTE — 10,000 power outages remain after Hurricane Laura hit one month ago. That number is down from a staggering 615,000 in the days after the storm.

It's all because of the thousands of line workers who descended on Louisiana following Laura.

Tropical Depression Beta caused a brief interruption in that work. More than 700 crew members from Jeff-Davis Electric Co-op are now staying at the Cajundome in Lafayette.

"I wouldn't say I'm a hero, I think that would be taking it for the wrong reasons. We're here for the opportunity to help someone out in need," Mac Tannery, a lineman with Blue Ridge Electric Co-op, said.

Tannery grew up knowing he wanted to help people.

"I've got a couple family members that were linemen prior to me, and I always saw myself being like them, so I thought it would be a good thing to do," Tannery explained.

Tannery is one of hundreds of workers who came from out of state to help get the power back on in Southwest Louisiana.

"I mean you're seeing people with nothing left and don't know when they'll get anything don't even know when they left," he said.

Tannery and colleagues like Justin Southerland are from Clemson, South Carolina.

"We've seen where power lines would be for miles and there's nothing, not even a pole standing," said Tannery. "You see where a house used to stand, and there's nothing but a floor left," Southerland added.

Although these linemen are hundreds of miles away from their families, they say they have no regrets.

"It can be tough at times. You miss them, but you remember you're here for good reasons," Southern said.

"It's what we signed up for," Tannery explained. "You're going to help people who lost everything, and it's nice to know you kind of helped, gave them a piece of mind that they have something to come back to."

The lineman will stay in Lafayette another day, then they will head back west to areas hit the hardest by Hurricane Laura, where the work to restore power continues.