Service in the face of tragedy

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Tropical Storm Michael brought heavy rainfall, flooding, downed power lines and downed trees at the intensity that few anticipated considering Hurricane Florence’s underwhelming track in the region.

The storm caused schools to close and roads to become impassable due to washouts or downed trees and powerlines.

What’s worse is that two people, Ruby and Ronnie Allen Jr., a mother and son, died after being swept away from floodwaters at Mt. Harmony Road as a result of the storm.

Seeing and experiencing the damaging effects of the tropical storm is almost impossible to avoid. Many in the county continue to not have power, some have housing or vehicle damage, and some are taking detours as roads have closed.

Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) cited that at the peak of the tropical storm’s impact in the region, 40,000 of the company’s service members were impacted, which amounts to roughly 70 percent of SEC’s system.

“Hurricane Michael created devastation across the majority of our service territory,” Jeff Edwards, SEC’s president and CEO said in a news release. “Hundreds of fallen trees created miles of downed power lines to repair along with approximately 100 broken poles. This is the worst damage I have seen in my 33-year career, with the exception of hurricanes Hugo and Isabel.”

Dominion said there were more than 600,000 customers around the state who experienced outages, amounting to the sixth largest outage in the company’s history.

SEC cited that crew members have discovered nearly 100 broken poles, hundreds of fallen trees and miles of downed power lines in the area.

It’s difficult to imagine the resilience that local and state first responders, as well as linemen and road crew working to restore electricity and repair roadways, have had to undergo for nearly a week, and will most likely have to continue to do what needs to be done.

Stories are continuing to surface of goodwill deeds in the region, such as making hot meals for those affected by power outages, or the countless hours power linemen, first responders and road crew have sacrificed to restore normalcy in the county as soon as possible. Particularly those who have put their lives on the line to perform rescues when nature becomes turmoil and peoples’ lives are at risk.

To everyone who has taken a damaging and tragic storm like this and has responded by looking out for their neighbors, strangers, families and friends, we at The Gazette commend you.

Emily Hollingsworth Is A Staff Reporter For The Charlotte Gazette And Farmville Newsmedia Llc. Her Email Address Is Emily.