The Herald spoke this morning with both Shane and Tori Hawks of Stampede Power Line Services of Wiley. Stampede is extending the “neighbor helping neighbor” idea all the way across the country this week. Tori tells us: In anticipation of damage to be caused by Hurricane Ian, Stampede sent a convoy consisting of 8 men, 3 bucket trucks, 2 digger trucks, and 2 service trucks over 1526 miles away to Lake City, Florida.

One of the Stampede Employees, Tony Anderson, was made aware of the need through connections he had in Florida and the decision was made to pause work currently being in done near Campo in Baca County to address this emergency in Florida. The crew left for Florida from Springfield on Sunday.

Shane, who is on site in Florida said they are seeing rain, but the bulk of the storm is still to come. They are currently in hurry up and wait mode.

In Lake City, they will assist in the restoration of electricity after Hurricane Ian leaves thousands without power. The local crew will arrive early Tuesday morning and await the impact themselves before heading into the aftermath of the storm to begin their weeks-long task. Meteorologists have reported Hurricane Ian will hit land early Friday morning. SPLS crews will follow orders from Center Phase Energy once the storm has begun. The crews could be looking at a least a few weeks of work to repair and rebuild powerlines.

Most people do not even give electricity a second thought, yet without linemen no one would have power for everyday tasks. Line work is already extremely dangerous, but adding gale force winds laced with heavy rainfall and other hazards makes these crews’ mission even more risky. Colorado crews are familiar with working in the hot sun during the summer, bitter cold and blowing snow in the winter, and tornadic winds in the spring, but working in Florida will challenge the crews even more. Yet– none of them hesitated when asked if they wanted to go face Hurricane Ian head on. These are unsung heroes putting their life on the line every day.

We would like to thank local area crews for their expertise, bravery, and willingness to assist in this storm: Tony Anderson (Yoder, CO), Carmon Bailey (Lamar, Co), Jorge Garcia (Lamar, CO), Luis Jimenez Barraza (Lamar, CO), Colin Lindo (Lamar, CO), Jacob Schaffner (Colorado Springs, CO), Rumaldo Vega Jr (Lamar, CO), and Shane Hawks (Wiley, CO).

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