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Friday, February 1, 2008

What Public Servants Look Like

The term "public servant" is often over used and perhaps even hard for most to grasp, but here is a picture of some real ones. In this picture, taken at 1:00 on Friday, February 1, members of the EPB team are making repairs to a 69,000 volt transmission line just off 31E near the Cumberland Parkway. The 69,000 volt line is deenergized, but right below their feet is a 12,470 volt line that is energized and feeding hundreds of homes. The temperature, with wind chill, is about 15 degrees. At the top of the seventy foot pole, it is closer to 5 degrees. They are doing this in an attempt to keep the 15,000 folks in Glasgow warm and safe over the weekend.

The line they are repairing is one of three such lines that feed the city of Glasgow. During the storm of November 5, this section of line was heavily damaged and had been taken out of service until it could be completely rebuilt along with the steel structure at Cleveland Avenue substation. However, before this could all be done, along came the storms of January 29. That night both of the other two lines feeding Glasgow were also damaged and could only be repaired with temporary solutions. Thus, since the winds and storms seem to be never ending, these guys are rushing up repairs on the originally damaged section so we can switch the whole city to it while other repairs are made to the sections damaged on Tuesday night. Hopefully, if they can hold out against the winds and cold long enough, we will get this switching done and reinforce Glasgow's electric power grid a bit for the weekend. In a way I hate for everyone to know how vulnerable our power grid is right now, but I do want everyone to know that these brave craftsmen are the only thing standing between warmth and cold in Glasgow right now. If they do their work well, no one will even think about where their warmth comes from.

Such is the nature of public servants like these and many more in our community. When they do their work well, they become invisible. Everyone just assumes that these servants and the ultimate servant, electric power, are just like oxygen. . .it is just there and no one really knows, or cares, how it gets there. Where the truth is, that it takes brave folks like these, who are few, who are cold, who are tired from spending several nights fighting the elements, and who are human just like the 15,000 folks benefiting from their labor. If you are with friends this weekend enjoying the Super Bowl, take a few minutes to think about these guys and the work they did to make your gathering a possibility, because the technology that we rely on does not just come out of the sky!