Tenn. utility workers headed to Florida, Georgia following Hurricane Irma

PHOTO: A house damaged after the wake of Hurricane Irma in Saint Johns County, Florida, Photo Date: 9/11/2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Volunteer lineworkers from 11 electric cooperatives are headed to help in restoration efforts following Hurricane Irma.

Over 90 lineworkers have volunteered their time and skills to those in need in Georgia and Florida.

“Eleven electric cooperatives in Tennessee are sending personnel and equipment to Florida and Georgia to assist electric cooperatives impacted by this incredible storm,” said David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association.

Plans were in progress to send crews last week, but co-ops were reluctant to leave until Irma had passed through Tennessee. Now that the storm has gone through, some crews have already left, and others are making final preparations to leave for hard-hit Florida and Georgia.

“On more than one occasion our friends from other states have offered assistance following tornadoes and ice storms,” said Callis. “We are glad to repay their kindness. Cooperation is one of the founding principles of electric cooperatives. It is what makes us different from other utilities.

“We invite you to keep these co-op heroes in your thoughts and prayers,” continued Callis, “Today they are lacing up their boots, leaving their families and heading to a difficult and dangerous environment. Our lineworkers are second-to-none, and we are very proud of their desire to help those in need."

Tennessee isn't the only one sending volunteers, however. 5,000 lineworkers from 25 other states are also heading down the the hurricane ravaged areas.