In August of 2011 and again in October, a crew of 54 power technicians from British Columbia was sent to the state of Connecticut to help restore power to millions of people in the aftermath of two devastating storms, Hurricane Irene and an early winter storm that tore out the power systems a second time in a tangle of trees.
Paul Davis of Forest Grove was a member of the crew. He has been a lineman, now called a power technician, for 33 years.
“The company we work for is owned by a Texas-based business that maintains numerous utility systems throughout the [United] States. Our first time down was a mock test following Hurricane Irene.
“They were really pleased with our work. It’s well-known that Canadians have a pretty good work ethic.
“I’ve never seen storm damage even close to what we found. Trees were toppled over everywhere.”
Approximately three million people were without power for 10 days, he says, adding it was fortunate it was still warm at the time.
“But this last time, they had snow on Oct. 20. There were a lot of huge heritage oak trees.
The leaves hadn’t left the trees yet, so there was 20 inches of wet, heavy snow and, of course, the trees went down, Davis says. It was below freezing, he adds, and this time around six million people were affected.
“When we arrived, a supervisor from Connecticut Light and Power gave us a breakdown of the severity of the storm. Anyone who hasn’t driven or used a piece of equipment in that state had to go through a test.
“We were broken up into two sections; one crew went to Berlin, which is equivalent to the size of Surrey, and the other to Middletown.
“The people loved us. They’d come out with coffee and doughnuts. A lot of them didn’t really understand where we came from. They had heard of Vancouver, but they didn’t have a clue where it is.
“Quite a few didn’t understand why we didn’t speak French. I was so impressed with how polite everyone was. All the young people call anyone older ‘Sir’.
“Some days we’d work our 16 hours and we’d say, ‘Sorry we couldn’t get to you but we’ll be back as early as possible tomorrow’. We’d go back in the morning and there’d be signs on the lawns, ‘Thank you Canada, We love you, Canadians’.”
Davis notes that with climate and weather patterns changing, major storms will continue to develop. Workers will continue to be needed to rebuild ravaged power systems on both sides of the border.
Letters to Santa
Postmistress Viv Loiselle would like to remind all children that Santa Claus wants to read your letters as he sits by his warm fire on wintry nights.
He promises to answer every one. So write your letter or get your mom or dad to write one for you and drop it off at the post office.
Santa’s address is: Santa Claus, North Pole, HOH OHO
• Seniors Christmas Dinner, Dec. 5. Happy hour is at 4 p.m., dinner at 5, followed by the sing-along music of Art Dumaresq. Tickets are free: Forest Grove Store, Legion, Post Office, and Canim Lake Store.
• Fire Department Christmas Party. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. with lunch at noon. Photos with Santa. Horse drawn sleigh/wagon ride, weather permitting. Children must be registered, 397-2452.
• Legion New Year’s Eve Dance. Band is Border Run. For information and tickets, call Janet at 395-3359 or the Legion at 397-2455.
• Community Christmas Concert at the school, Dec. 14, starting 6:30 p.m. To participate, call the school at 250-397-2962.