On Sunday, September 16, four volunteer linemen from the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative (CHEC) packed their chest waders, their tools, and their gear to head to Harkers Island and the Down East community to assist with the devastating damage that stemmed from Hurricane Florence.
CHEC has a total of nine linemen on staff, and the four volunteers will be tackling the Down East area for an unknown period of time, in order to provide Carteret Craven Electric Co-op with some desperately needed assistance.
At the peak of the storm, Carteret Craven Electric Co-op had a total of 40,000 outages, and as of Monday morning, power has been restored to roughly 8,900 services.
“It’s pretty typical for co-ops to send mutual aid,” said Laura Ertle, Director of Marketing & Public Relations. “We are one of 26 co-ops in North Carolina, and many times we are the ones receiving help, so it’s wonderful for us when we can give help instead.”
The volunteers will help with restoration efforts as long as they are needed, and may travel to other co-ops in the state if additional help is required along the coastline.
“They could move as needed, but Carteret had a really bad time with the storm so they are in mutual need for sure,” said Ertle.
“We always ask for volunteers to help other areas in trouble,” she added. “They are leaving their family and home, and are risking a lot to provide aid.”
The four linemen are Mark McCracken, Jamie Midgett, Jonathan Vernesoni and Richard Augustson, and a social media post announcing their travels was greeted with gratitude from all across the community, as islanders wished the volunteer linemen safe travels, and thanked them for their dedication, selflessness, and service.