Thanking our utility workers in a busy summer season

August 24, 2021

Rep. Jack O’Malley

Letter to the editor: Thanking our utility workers in a busy summer season

Dear Editor:

Rough weather hasn’t strictly been a winter event in our area of the state this year.

Waves of severe thunderstorms and flooding have done a number on numerous places in Michigan during the summer months and those storms have impacted northern Michigan too. Just recently, storms with winds as high as 70 mph roared through knocking down trees, limbs and power lines. Thousands were without power in Mason County, and both sporadic and widespread outages were reported up and down the Lake Michigan coastline.

I wanted to take a moment to thank our utility workers who help us get the lights back on in the aftermath of these events. Many of these individuals put their own plans on the back burner to work 14-16 hour shifts at night, on weekends, or in incredibly hot summer weather. Some are coming from out of state on-call and spending multiple days away from their families to assist.

These sacrifices are for our families, small businesses and maybe most importantly – our freezers! Other workers clear roadways of debris following storms to prevent accidents or hazardous driving conditions. All of these efforts are essential to our communities.

Utility line work is commonly ranked as one of the most dangerous jobs in America. Around 30-50 workers out of every 100,000 are killed on the job every year, and many others are injured while performing this demanding work.

It’s often a test of patience waiting for the power to come back on. People become frustrated. Food can spoil. The Tigers or Lions won’t be on the television. But these are massive coordination efforts that are required in an emergency situation. After recent high winds, one utility had over 3,000 downed power lines and broken poles statewide. Almost one million people were reported to be without power. There’s no magic switch – and workers must be thorough to keep themselves and other crewmembers safe.

It’s natural to be tired of waiting in these instances, but we must respect the tireless efforts of those who are working on our behalf.

State Rep. Jack O’Malley, Lake Ann

Jack O’Malley represents the 101st Michigan House of Representatives district: Mason, Manistee, Benzie and Leelanau counties.

Letters to the editor are opinion editorials submitted by readers. Letters to the editor are a long tradition in American journalism. The views and opinions of the writer do not necessarily reflect those of Mason County Press, its staff or its parent company. For more information, please refer to MCP’s Op/Ed policy.

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