Alabama linemen celebrated at fifth annual ‘Appreciation Day’
Opelika Power Services on Monday hosted the Yellowhammer State’s fifth annual Lineman Appreciation Day, sponsored by the Energy Institute of Alabama (EIA), recognizing the hardworking men and women tasked with providing electricity to the state’s residents every day, even in dangerous conditions and after severe weather strikes.
In a statement to Yellowhammer News, Public Service Commission President Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh expressed her appreciation for the linemen that keep Alabama running day and night.
“Linemen sacrifice countless hours away from their families and put their lives on the line year-round to keep our lights on,” Cavanaugh said. “These men and women provide an essential service to everyone in Alabama and are truly unsung heroes. They respond day or night, hot or cold, and in severe weather, to provide us all with safe and reliable electricity.”
“We are thankful for our linemen today and every day,” she emphasized.
Alabama’s annual Lineman Appreciation Day began as a statewide celebration following a resolution sponsored by State Rep. April Weaver (R- Alabaster), which established the first Monday of June as a day to recognize these dedicated individuals.
Weaver spoke on Monday about her own grandfather serving as a lineman and the personal sacrifices she has witnessed first-hand that linemen make every day to serve the citizens of the state.
Welcoming over 80 linemen and guests to the event, Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller remarked, “In good weather we love them, but in bad weather, we sure do appreciate them.”
The attendees witnessed Cullman Electrical Cooperative’s Jeff Osborn receive the Energy Institute’s Outstanding Service Award for his 12 years of exemplary service as a lineman, as well as his commitment to go above and beyond his daily work duties for the cooperative.
Former Alabama House Speaker Seth Hammett, EIA chairman, shared a story about Osborn organizing work days in the community to help citizens with much-needed yard work and home repair projects on his own time.
“What sets Jeff apart is his attention to detail and compassion for people he encounters each day,” Hammett said as he read Osborn’s nomination for the award.
Other active Alabama linemen attended the event, with two sharing their own perspectives of what it means to be a lineman. All were gifted backpacks for use in the field.
Hammett advised that the special recognition for linemen is important due to their unwavering commitment to serve the people of our state every day and in the worst of conditions.
“Our linemen are the face of our industry,” Hammett commented. “When people think about electric utilities, they think about linemen.”
Information about the newly created “Thank A Lineman” car tag was also shared at the event, including that the proceeds from the tag will benefit charities that support linemen and their families.
This comes after the National Lineman Appreciation Day, which has been celebrated annually across America on April 18 since a 2013 resolution passed by Congress.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn