ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Less than 24 hours after Hurricane Sally made landfall on Sept. 16 near the gulf coast of Alabama, linemen with the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative were already on their way to help the thousands of people left in the dark.
Sixteen linemen with SVEC left for the Gulf Coast to spend the week helping the people of Baldwin County, Al. clear debris and restore their power.
Brandon Long, a lead lineman, said he’s responded to many natural disasters before but has never seen so many widespread trees, poles, and lines down.
“I’ve never seen anything of that caliber. Like I said, it was very widespread destruction I mean normally when you go it’s somewhat confined to one area, but this was pretty much the whole Baldwin County,” Long said.
He said crews were told to take extra caution and watch out for not just debris but also wildlife like alligators and cottonmouth snakes that may have wound up from the storm.
Long said more than 1,600 linemen from across the country were helping restore power and were able to return back to the Valley this past Friday.
He said for the linemen at SVEC, they’re all on a list to volunteer and respond when disasters happen. He said the best part is helping those who need it most.
“That’s why we go, if we didn’t like it then we wouldn’t volunteer,” Long said. " It stinks being away from your family but it’s good to help people."