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Electrical line work is more than just a job to those in the field—it’s a fellowship built on trust, confidence and knowing that someone’s got your back all along the line. Many describe it as a family, and for some, it is, like the Chapman, Fagan and Myers families, who seem to carry the tradition of linework in their genes.
Guy Chapman, Sandy Fagan and Chris Myers collectively have more than 90 years of experience as electrical linemen. Most of that experience came while they have been with EnergyUnited, and their sons Cory, Levi and Zach have followed in their footsteps and are working as linemen for EnergyUnited too.
These fathers had to find peace in their sons’ decisions since they were aware of the risks associated with the job. For Sandy and Guy, that peace came from their personal experiences and the trust they have in the crew leaders with whom their sons are now working. Chris Myers’ personal experiences, however, initially left him feeling conflicted.
In October of 1998, Chris went to work on a 7,200-volt underground primary line. Chris was still holding the line that day as it was energized.
“I was in the hospital for a couple of days after the accident and suddenly had this unbelievable feeling,” Chris described. “I felt this cool breeze in my heart and this awareness of all the people who were praying for me, then I immediately sat up in my bed. I took one step out of my bed and continued to take one step after another,” Chris recounted. “A few days after I started walking again, I was discharged. I returned to work two weeks later.”
He knew he was fortunate to be alive and was prepared to quit his job. In fact, if it wasn’t for Robert Owens, Regional Line Manager I (Yadkin River Region), he believes he wouldn’t be where he is today. Robert helped him cope with the trauma that resulted from the accident, and in doing so helped him find peace with his son’s decision.
The Myers, Fagans and Chapmans all have their own role models and leaders like Owens who they looked up to as they gained experience as linemen. And it’s that shared respect for the job that plays an essential role in reinforcing a culture of safety. Though parental fears and trepidations may never truly dissipate, the feelings they experience most are a sense of pride in their sons, in the integrity of the job, and in the knowledge that together their work is truly empowering.
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