Building Hope After Disaster

It is estimated that damages from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will exceed $150 billion as recovery efforts continue in areas across the country devastated by these destructive storms. In the aftermath of a disaster, we are often told to look out for the helpers. NECA Penn-Del-Jersey is proud to be a community-oriented Chapter whose members lend a hand to their neighbors  in times of need.

Members from Carr & Duff, Inc., Riggs Distler & Co, Inc., Miller Bros., Matrix NAC and others jumped at the chance to serve, and sent more than 650 workers and approximately 400 pieces of equipment to aid in hurricane recovery. From utility restoration to overhead distribution construction, Chapter members served commercial and residential customers across parts of Florida and Georgia.

“We always offer our assistance to the impacted utilities,” said Craig Zemaitatis of Riggs Distler. “We pride ourselves on helping restore electricity to the customers who lost power due to natural disasters. From our most recent efforts, we have received countless letters of appreciation and have had thoughtful customers thanking our crews, offering home cooked meals, and cold water while we were working. The support from the public was incredible.”

(A crew from Riggs Distler & Co., Inc. during Hurricane Irma recovery efforts.)

“Hurricane Irma caused one of the largest power outages in the history of the United States, so the utility restoration efforts were daunting at first. Our crews worked sixteen hours a day for more than two weeks in the Florida sun,” said Shawn Duff of Carr & Duff. “We helped turn on power for larger customers like high-rise institutional and commercial facilities, but by the end of our time, our crews were restoring aerial secondaries for residential customers.”

(A crew from Carr & Duff, Inc. with the Miami-Dade Fire Department in South Florida.)

“Our employees have a genuine passion for the work they do. However, leaving their own homes is never easy, the hours are long, and the environment we work in is dangerous,” said Chris Johnston of Matrix NAC. “Being able to help makes it all worthwhile. We understand the impact of our work on everyday life and while we love the work that we do, it is why we do it that matters most.”

(Matrix NAC sent team members to help customers restore power after Hurricane Irma.)

“The vast majority of our restoration work focused on pole replacements and downed wire restoration,” said Willard Wolf of Miller Bros. “Miller Bros. has long supported Florida Power & Light with non-utility assigned line crews for storm response. This time around, our teams worked in inaccessible and wet areas, but the residents were grateful for our efforts.”

(Miller Bros. sent team members to help with Hurricane Irma recovery efforts.)

In addition to members’ work on the ground in the affected areas, many Penn-Del-Jersey Chapter members participated in several blood drives hosted by IBEW Local 98 to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey. The Chapter helped fill a tractor trailer with bottled water and supplies for the region and made donations to NECA Cares to help NECA members impacted by the hurricanes.

A special thanks to everyone who participated in these impactful rebuilding efforts.