Pitt and Greene Electric Corporation lineworker’s spouse - Carolina Country

Lineworkers Receive Prayers and Support from Home

A Pitt & Greene EMC lineworker’s spouse reflects on storm season

By Ashleigh Lancaster

Asheleigh Lancaster

James and Ashleigh Lancaster

Nothing can ever prepare me for the notice to pack his bags for a storm call. My husband is fortunate enough to be a lineman for Pitt & Greene EMC. Being on call 24/7 is hard to comprehend. Storm season is tough, both for the ones in the path of storms, as well as for the lineworkers and their families when they leave to restore power.

The family atmosphere created between the employees of local co-ops and their significant others makes it much more tolerable for those at home when the call comes, but we never know if he will be gone 24 hours or 30 days. One day he may be home, the next he could be on the road to an unknown location to help those in need. As tough as it may be, I try to set all of my feelings aside and support his dream.

Electric co-op lineworkers respond to hurricanes, ice and snow storms, tornadoes or whatever disasters come their way, sacrificing more than we will ever imagine. They miss birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, field trips and other big events. When my husband and I got married in September, I never thought about storm season. Now, storm season is a “thing” in our lives. My husband has been gone for more than half of our anniversaries due to hurricane damage in North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.

I have learned they need us to be strong, positive, and they need our prayers.

I worry and pray for my husband and his crews every day, storm or not. Worry is always a part of the game. Being the significant other of a lineman for 14 years is not for the weary. I have learned they need us to be strong, positive, and they need our prayers. I always try to tell my husband how proud I am of him and the work he is doing. I also try to assure him things are going smoothly at home (even when I am at my wit’s end). I make sure he knows we are praying for him and his crew. With a toddler at home, we keep those phone calls positive and not full of questions like: “When are you coming home?” or “Are you tired and hungry?” I always keep in the back of my mind: No news is good news. If I don’t hear from him, he’s okay, he is working, and he will respond when he is able.

When I was pregnant with our little boy in 2018, my husband was working on storm recovery in New Bern and became stuck on the opposite side of the river due to flooding. Not only was he facing the stress of our first pregnancy, but I was eight-and-a-half-months pregnant, and he didn’t know if he would be able to get to me if I went into labor! Thankfully, our little man waited to make his appearance until his daddy was back home.

When the call comes in to pack his bags, I pray he goes to an area where the community gets involved. Even though the people in these areas are suffering from loss, many communities will cater to the line crews and first responders. They create goody bags, help do laundry, provide home-cooked meals, and even provide necessities if they are running low. When lineworkers are welcomed into communities like this, it eases the minds of the wives and families back home.

Preparing ourselves for the next hurricane and storm season never goes without its unique challenges, but there is one thing for sure. We will remain positive, and continue to pray for the safety of our lineman and his crew to make it through another year of this journey called life.

About the Author

Ashleigh Lancaster and her husband, Pitt & Greene EMC Crew Foreman James “Fuzzy” Lancaster, live in Snow Hill. They’re celebrating their 9th wedding anniversary this month.

Comments (1)

  • Great read, and a reminder to me to offer up another huge thanks to all of the linemen out there. You guys don't get the appreciation I think you often deserve, especially when it seems like there's no emergency going on. But many of us appreciate the fact that you are no different than any other first responders, sitting on Go for the call that may take you away from your home and family for extended periods... often in seriously adverse conditions.

    I grew up and lived most of my life in eastern NC, mostly along the coast, and I've experienced the natural disasters this area is known for... from hurricanes to ice storms, and I've never failed to be impressed by (and grateful for) the efforts of the line crews to restore and maintain power. Don't know what we'd do without them.

    For a few years, I lived out in CA as a training and development consultant, and I did a ton of work for Pacific Gas and Electric's training department. There, I had the honor of working with several crews of lineworkers, supervisors, and trainers. I formed a whole new appreciation of what these guys face every day on the job, as I developed safety training, equipment operation, and other basic modules. (I also got to sit in and observe helicopter training, which is an experience all in itself and takes a very special kind of person.) I understand more than ever that, even when the rain isn't slashing sideways in a 60mph blow or the roads aren't covered in a slick of ice, lineworkers face a tough and often dangerous job.

    So, thank you!

    Phillip Loughlin |
    September 02, 2023 |

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