As one of the most powerful hurricanes in recent memory, Hurricane Ida, hit the gulf coast more than one million people in Louisiana were left without electricity. The estimates are that many residents will be without power for more than 20 days.
To help with this massive power restoration effort, Lee Electrical Construction LLC based out of Aberdeen, North Carolina is one of many companies that have been called in to help.
Working on one of the Lee Electrical crews in Louisiana are three graduates of Southside Virginia Community College's Power Line Worker Training Program, Bayden Bishop of Kenbridge (Lunenburg County); Jackson Queen of South Hill (Mecklenburg County); and Blake Gravitt of Clarksville (Mecklenburg County). Bayden was a graduate of the program's second cohort; Jackson a graduate of cohort 12 and Blake a recent graduate of cohort 16.
"When you are a lineman, you watch the weather forecasts and keep your bags packed," said Jackson. "Many families here in Louisiana have already been without power for days and may be without power for weeks. We have to work long hours at times but we know the importance of what we do.”
Jackson added, “We've already had people come up to us here in Baton Rouge and thank us personally, that appreciation makes the time and effort we put in each day worthwhile."
Jason R. Lee, Chief Operating Officer of Lee Electrical Construction, LLC said, “Hurricane Ida caused catastrophic damage to many of our customers in the gulf. When events like this happen, these same customers rely on Lee Electrical Construction and our team to provide a skilled and safe workforce that can respond very quickly. These guys (Bayden, Jackson, and Blake) answered that call. It is because of individuals such as these three that we are able to continually provide reliable restoration services to affected areas."
Jackson has been with Lee for two years and said the guys on his crew are like a family. They look out for each other while following safety protocols when restoring power in areas that storms have ravaged. Because of the severe damage, it is estimated that the Lee crew will be working in Louisiana for multiple weeks.
Their crew is planning to leave Baton Rouge and head to New Orleans within the next few days.
Local Linemen with Lee Electrical Construction LLC and former SVCC Power Line Worker graduates Bayden Bishop, Jackson Queen and Blake Gravitt are currently in Louisiana restoring power from the damage left behind by Hurricane Ida.