MO electrical workers head to Florida to help hurricane relief efforts

Posted at 9:57 PM, Oct 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-11 09:05:55-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A team of electrical workers departed from the metro on Wednesday to head to the Florida Panhandle for Hurricane Michael relief efforts.

In total, six crew members with Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative made the 700-mile journey from Kearney to a staging area in Alabama.

The team is part of a 123-member squad made up of electrical crew members from around Missouri.

“We started off getting up around four o’clock this morning and showed up and got our trucks ready,” said Platte-Clay Electric Cooperative worker Tom Hale, who spoke to 41 Action News by phone as he made the ten-hour drive on Wednesday. “Everything is going well on the trip except for having to drive through a lot of rain so far.”

Hale and his crew will be stationed in Athens, Alabama, before departing for Quincy, Florida, after Hurricane Michael has passed.

On Wednesday, he said his team was ready to go.

“We’ll probably be removing a lot of debris, a lot of brush. We’ll have to be concerned about water,” he said. “There will be a lot of devastation but we’re going to be there to safely get power restored for everybody.”

During the trip, Missouri Disaster Relief Team member Joe Dayringer said the crews will likely see all sorts of loss.

“It’s kind of heart-wrenching when you first go in and see the devastation,” he explained. “The homes are where it really stands out because a home is totally destroyed.”

Dayringer told 41 Action News that he has been a part of over 70 relief trips over the last 10 years, including to North Carolina this year after Hurricane Florence.

He said the crews heading to Florida would likely see thousands of people dealing with damage.

“They’re devastated,” he said. “You can imagine one day you have all the things you’ve accumulated and the next thing everything is destroyed and gone.”

With Missouri crews now prepared to go to work in Florida, Hale said he was ready to help out as many people as possible.

“We won’t hesitate to go down and help people out,” he said. “God forbid, if it ever happened in our backyard, we know our line of brothers would be alongside us helping us.”

According to the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, 23 co-ops from around the state will head to the Florida Panhandle region to help in relief efforts.