Another kind of “first responder’ – Daily Leader

Another kind of “first responder’ – Daily Leader

Another Kind of “First Responder”

Published Saturday 24 December 2022 at 9:00 am

What a beautiful sight that was.

The truck that stopped in front of my house was higher than my house. The two men inside said they would immediately begin clearing away the debris from the terrible storm so they could then work to restore power to us and our neighbors.

After a few days without power, we were dying to get it back. The crews had worked tirelessly everywhere and finally made it to our neck of the forest.

What struck me that day was the attitude of the people. The men who arrived were polite and willing to do what they were trained and skilled to do. That wasn’t surprising.

What really surprised me was how grateful the residents of our community were for the help. I hadn’t heard her complain at all. They knew that others were affected by the storm and needed help as much or more than we did.

Let me get this straight – my neighbors were nice people. But what you hear so often at times like this is incessant wailing. Why weren’t we higher on the list for help? What is it taking so long? Etc.

You know what so often happens when storms or drastic weather changes occur? Soil contracts, expands and shifts. This can lead to cracks and holes in roadways and the bursting of underground water and utility lines. You don’t have to drive through the Yukon — and have a picnic lunch while waiting for a freeway crew to essentially build a new road because the tundra has shifted and taken a section of the freeway 50 meters to the east — to do this see. Although I have.

You can also experience it in Southwest Mississippi.

Who fixes them? Our city and county utility workers – both public and private employees. They are the “first responders” in the event of operational damage.

Repairs cost time, money and backbreaking work. But they do, often in harsh conditions.

On one of my final exams in college, the professor had this bonus question: What’s the name of the woman who cleans our classroom?

I knew and a few other students knew, but most didn’t. This woman came in every day right after our class ended and emptied the trash. I made it my mission to talk to her and get her name. We didn’t learn much from each other this semester, but our exchanges always brought smiles to both of us, along with questions about our days and families. I was raised to believe that everyone is equal and valuable and to treat them as if they were worth even more.

Yes, she was a school employee. It was her job and she was expected to do it well. But why couldn’t she be appreciated for that, too?

Like those two guys who rolled into my neighborhood years ago to put us back in power, our utility workers need to know we value them.

If you see them, take a moment and tell them. It could make their day and yours.

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