Cuivre River crews aid in Hurricane Irma recovery
Eight Cuivre River Electric Cooperative linemen pictured above spent several days in central Florida working to restore power as part of massive restoration efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
The group was among 133 linemen from 22 cooperatives across the state which answered the call for help. Cuivre River crews were with those who traveled to SECO Energy, the seventh largest co-op in the nation.
At the height of the storm about 50% of SECO’s 200,000 members were without power. When Cuivre River crews returned home, power was restored to 99% of SECO members.
“Their members were glad to see us show up,” Cuivre River lineman Dave Rasmussen said. Other Cuivre River linemen who went to Florida were Mike Bess, Clint Courtney, Craig Eikermann, Mark Hasekamp, Josh Nolte, Pat Schroeder and Jacob Tiefenthaler. Cuivre River crews departed Missouri Sept. 11 and returned home Sept. 19.
Crews worked 18-hour days repairing broken poles and wire damaged by powerful winds and falling trees. They also spent time removing trees from power lines.
They had to quickly get acclimated to new surroundings that included dealing with a sandy terrain which led to instances where vehicles became stuck, as well as working alongside alligators and black bears.
Nonetheless, the local linemen were glad they aided in the restoration efforts.
“We got a nursing home on and they all cheered for us,” Courtney said.
The Missouri contingent was part of the largest mobilization of mutual assistance in the history of the rural electric program. Relief crews are coordinated by the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, the statewide service organization for electric cooperatives.