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Unsung heroes

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        Jenyn as Vanna by our side yard at dusk

Kansas City has been smashed with winter blasts this last week.  We haven’t had a winter like this since I started living here 20 years ago.  We actually had 8 years of almost no snow at all–ice storms galore, but no real snow.  Driving with huge tunnels of plowed snow on either side is a bizarre and scary experience, as you can’t see who is coming in the intersections without creeping slowly.  And the side roads have one lane with nowhere to pull over for oncoming cars.

During both storms, I stayed at the hospital and “manned” the dialysis unit, as someone must be available for urgent needs, and the roads were practically impassable.  It was an odd experience to be driving into the city at the start of the storm with no one on my side of the interstate, and watching the other side loaded with cars, leaving like rats on a drowning vessel. I got lucky with the first storm. Other than rearranging treatment times and coordinating efforts, I didn’t have any patient disasters.  And I got to stay at the Weston in Crown Center. Of course I was too tired to do anything, especially after walking knee-deep in snow.

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Jenyn as Princess of the mountain at dusk

The second storm, 5 days later, was more of a hassle.  Two of us stayed and I got the luxury of sleeping on a recliner chair as all the hotels in the area were full.  I think that was the hardest chair in existence.  I probably re-arranged items at least 15 times in order to make it more comfortable.  Needless to say I could barely walk after that glorious experience.  But I was grateful for something, some people were sleeping on tables.

But when people think of the heroes in the storms, the “first responders” are the ones who get the most praise. You know, ambulance drivers, snow and ice truckers, medical personnel who stay on for days at a time not seeing their families.   But few think of the persons who man the electrical power.  Snow and ice storms make life difficult for critical jobs, but the electricians who service our power get the shaft for all storms.  Lightning storms, thunderstorms, windstorms, ice storms, snow storms all require their response.  They work day and night sometimes to get the power back for weeks on end if the storm is damaging enough.

I recently experienced a partial power outage at my house.  I was paralyzed. Only a few items worked (thank the Lord one of them was my fridge). So I sat in the darkness with no electrical items, one room with light and realized how our reliance on electricity has become. When the crew came (at night, like 8 pm), they worked for 2 hours digging up the faulty wires, and I realized that these people were the most critical but least recognized service.  We have allowed electrical power to be our lifeline and without it we cannot function.  We went out and thanked them profusely.  And I am sad to say how surprised and pleased they were that we performed this simple act of gratitude.

My dad was an electrician who spent 20 years building the electrical transformers for the Limerick Nuclear Power Station in PA.  He was noted as the only person to never have a transformer break down.  Sometimes he worked 12 hour shifts 7 days a week if a critical project needed to get done right away.  The power plant services millions of people in the Philadelphia metropolis, so loss of power is a bit of a nightmare.

Limerick Generating Station, Units 1 and 2

Limerick Generating Station, Units 1 and 2 (Photo credit: NRCgov)

So give a thought to all the electrical workers who keep out lives running smoothly.  From one small blogger, thank you for all that you do.  And while hospitals and snow removal personnel are finished with the emergent needs, the electrical workers are still getting power up for the parts of the area who lost transformers and power lines and the like.  This may take days and weeks of around the clock work for them. Please thank them when you see them working. They keep our lives in the 21st century.

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One comment on “Unsung heroes

  1. Very good perspective and reminder. Yes, thank you, all you electrical workers of America for the invaluable work you do for us all.

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