Linemen putting their lives on the line

Posted at 10:40 PM, Sep 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-21 07:30:00-04

Electrical linemen have been working long hours with very few breaks to restore power throughout Southwest Florida, but some customers aren't understanding of their plight. 

The social mediasphere can be a rough environment, filled with snarky commenters. You mix that with the frustration of not having electricity, and you have a recipe for on online hostility which the wife of a lineman says leads to displaced anger. 

"It doesn't happen overnight and we just have to be patient and do the best with what we have to get through the situation, and being ugly and making rude comments or threatening others; it doesn't turn the power back on,' said Kim Slaybaugh. 

Slaybaugh has been married to a lineman for 20 years; He's worked in the aftermath of countless storms, but each time he leaves feels like the first. 

"It doesn't get easier, because it's the unknown," said Slaybaugh. "I think it's not knowing if they're going to be okay, not knowing if there is going to be an accident, not knowing how long until you see them again," she added. 

Her husband works for Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC). He's one of thousands in Southwest Florida working to restore power after Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc across the state. Each time her husband leaves home, she worries for his safety. A fear, even her 10-year-old daughter is well aware of.  

"A lineman asked them if there was anything they could have, and they said they don't care about the electricity they just want their daddy's home, and that's just honest, you know, that's coming from a child and so i'd say we all want the same thing, we all just want them safe but we know they have a job to do." 

It's a job that requires a lot of guts, but comes with very little glory. She showed us a thank you note a child wrote for her husband.. For these men it's a reminder of why they make the sacrifices they do. 

"I just wanted people to know from a lineman's wife. They give up their families; their family doesn't come first, everybody else comes first."