Meet David: TNMPeople
Hurricanes are work unlike any other
David was a newly hired tree trimmer at TNMP when he worked his first hurricane in 1983.
"I was here just a few weeks when Alicia hit," David says. "I was kind of wondering, ‘What did I get myself into?' I was just 18 years old. It was overwhelming there for a while."
David, a Gulf Coast native, now is a lineman-foreman based in West Columbia. He says Hurricane Ike in 2008 caused the most damage he's seen in TNMP territory.
Ike damaged equipment across the region and left some customers without power for a couple weeks. But that wasn't due to a lack of effort by linemen.
"It tore up everything," he says. "We worked daylight to dark, every day. We worked constantly. There was no problem finding something to do."
Most damage he's seen
Hurricane Laura in 2020 caused damage to utility equipment in Louisiana that was unlike what most TNMP linemen had seen before.
"That was one of the worst storms I've seen – the most damage," says David, who was among 33 men from TNMP who provided mutual assistance. "I've never seen that many high-line structures down, with big pine trees laying across them."
That storm also offered one of the usually unseen factors for mutual assistance crews after many hurricanes: multi-man sleeper trailers hauled in as 18-wheelers.
"I'm 6-4, so I don't fit well in bunk beds," he says. "There are guys snoring. And for that storm, we had Covid going on. It's just as well to sleep in your truck cab. I slept in my truck for two weeks for Laura."
'Not what you think it is'
A linemen's job can appear exciting at times. David has thoughts for anyone considering the line of work, though.
"You better make sure that's really what you want, because it's not what you think it is," he says. "Get ready for hard work."