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Powerful Purpose: JEA crews working to help the Northeast

3:22 PM, Nov 15, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Power crews from our area are continuing to work through rough conditions after Hurricane Sandy. The first JEA crew left on October 28 and began the trek up north because Hurricane Sandy left millions in the dark and even worse, in the cold.

Last weekend the first team of 31 employees returned home. The team brought with them a simple, handwritten sign declaring "Thank You JEA" that one neighborhood made for them in the Northeast.

"It feels great to be home, we love the warm weather," said Jeffrey Braddock an emergency dispatcher with JEA.

Another crew of 32 utility workers are currently in the Massapequa, New York. They are trying to restore power through the cold rain and sleet.

We spoke to JEA lineman, Richard Kellogg, about the conditions in Massapequa by phone.

"You are wearing rubber gloves 24/7 or whenever you are in the bucket and they get cold and your hands and fingers get stiff. So it is a challenge," Kellogg said.

He says the people in the neighborhoods they are working in are thrilled to see them, even offering them food and something to drink as they work.

Braddock says his crew had the same type of reception.

"You would pull into an area and they would have a glimmer of hope that you were going to help them out," Braddock said. 

But working through the damage and a nor'easter wasn't easy.

"We had all that wind blowing and the rain suits on and everything we had was wet. It was pretty tough," says Braddock.

Thankfully his crew made it through safely.

Currently, Kellogg says his crew is driving street-by-street checking power lines and transformers and he and his lineman have a message for their families waiting on the First Coast.

"From all the line crews that are up here, we never like leaving home, but it is our calling. It is something we have got to do and from all the guys up here we love you and we will be home as soon as we can," Kellogg said.

There is no definite date on when the crew will come home, but they will stay in the Northeast for as long as they are needed, said JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce.

First Coast News

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