Jackson EMC Crews Help in Florida with Hurricane Ian Aftermath
Several crews from Jackson EMC recently helped Lee County Electric Cooperative (LCEC) restore power after Hurricane Ian caused extensive damage to the North Fort Myers, Florida area. More than half of LCEC’s members lost power and it took weeks to fully restore electric service.
“This was the worst damage I’ve ever seen from a storm,” said Brad Moon, Jackson EMC journeyman lineman who previously helped restore power in communities following Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Michael.
Thirty-two of Jackson EMC's linemen and support personnel worked alongside crews from LCEC on Matlacha Island, a small community located near Cape Coral. Nearby, Sanibel Island was one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ian, according to media reports.
“The people in the community were very grateful to see us,” said lineman apprentice Ben Brissey. “In some areas, people stayed to ride the storm out with water rising up to five feet in homes and winds up to 140 mph.”
Jackson EMC has a long history of sending and receiving help from other cooperatives during major storms. "Cooperation among cooperatives" is one of the principals of co-ops.
Lineman Kasey Odom has helped in power restoration efforts after Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Michael.
“The main difference I experienced with Hurricane Ian was the mass destruction to homes and businesses,” he said. “With other storms, I have witnessed trees that fell through homes and roofs that sustained pretty severe damage. But with Ian, there were homes that were completely gone.”