Over the past two months, our members and employees have endured so much. While a worldwide pandemic was threatening all of us, locally we were recovering from four devastating tornadoes plus the pandemic.
As you are aware, five tornadoes came through our seven-county area in an 11-day period between April 12 and 23. Four of those tornadoes impacted our service area, causing damage and, for many, devastation to homes and businesses. Sadly, some of our members lost loved ones. We extend our condolences to them.
While Dixie Electric’s restoration story is only one small part of the recovery from these fierce storms, I believe it is important for you to know and understand our efforts to repair the damage and restore electrical service to you.
Four tornadoes rolling through our service area in a short 11-day time period was unprecedented. None of our current employees can remember a time when that many tornadoes hit our service area, causing destruction in just a few days. Some of the areas we repaired after the Easter tornado were hit again.
Operations Manager Pat McCarthy, who has worked with us for almost 43 years, said the damage caused by the Easter tornado that struck Covington, Jones and Jasper counties was some of the worst that he has seen in his career. Our line crews, along with visiting crews, replaced more than 400 power poles; this was just one of the four tornadoes.
Thank you does not seem to be strong enough words after all that our community has been through. I do want you, our members, to know that we appreciate you. So many of you stopped to encourage our linemen, visiting crews or our other employees. You were positive throughout these tough circumstances even when hours went into days without electrical service.
I would also like to thank the visiting crews from other cooperatives and contractors and the right-of-way clearing crews. Their hard work is much appreciated. We would not have been able to complete restoration in a timely manner without them.
Lastly, I would like to say that I am very proud of our Dixie Electric family. Our employees worked hard day-after-day, and I am proud of their strength and perseverance.
Our community has overcome so much over the past few months. Your strength, resilience and faith make all of us proud to call this community our home.