Thanks but no thanks? The dark side of the storm

  • Tuesday, February 25, 2014

As the last residents of Williamsburg County saw the lights come on in their homes Friday, an appreciation for the simple things in life must have been experienced. It's a fact that every one of us was affected by Winter Storm Pax. To put things into perspective, at the height of the storm, more than 350,000 people in South Carolina did not have electricity.  That is an incredible amount of people left in the cold.  

It's human nature to think of one's self in times of calamity such as the ice storm but it's something totally different to blame humans for being placed in that position. But that happened on more than one occasion. While I fussed over sleeping in a 45 degree house and going without a real shower for days, there were thousands of line workers, law enforcement, emergency personnel, hospital staff, church groups, city and county employees, and regular ol' citizens right in the middle of the mess doing the best they could with what they had to make sure we were ok - safe - out of harms' way.  

When put into perspective, everything makes a little more sense.  

Perspective check #1: You were not the only person who lost power.

People called the wives of linemen and told to "tell your husband to turn on the lights at my house".  Are you kidding me?  

Perspective check #2: The electric company didn't ignore your house.

By Monday, line crews from seven states were working to restore power. When miles of line are down and substations are knocked out, do you really, really believe some guy can just shimmy up a tree and flip a switch? And by the way, working on the lines is not a walk in the park.  Workers must navigate all kinds of terrain to get to the site. Multiply that by hundreds of sites and - well, you get the picture.  

Perspective check #3: Slow down when you see crews working on the side of the road.

A lineman who had traveled from North Carolina with his crew, was hit by a drunk driver when the driver crashed into the worksite. The lineman suffered a broken bone, however, instead of going home to his family, he continued to work throughout the night. I wonder if I'd done the same (kept working, that is).  

Nobody likes to go without the comforts that electricity provides, but looking at the big picture - I am thankful for the men and women (from both near and far) who sacrificed their own safety, sleepless nights, and endured horrible conditions in order to make us as safe as they were physically capable of. And shame on those who believe otherwise...

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