Several Mississippi Power linemen truly became friends in high places with elementary school students in the Coast and Pine Belt divisions as part of the company’s National Lineman Appreciation Day activities.
In visits to Stone Elementary and Petal Upper Elementary, line crews shared tools and tricks of their trade with students, including demonstrations of their day-to-day equipment, along with question-and-answer sessions.
Kids at both locations were also given sticker activity sheets, while the school libraries each received donated copies of the book “Lineman, The Unsung Hero.”
At Stone Elementary in Wiggins, Lead Lineman Brian Erkhart and his team interacted with nearly 100 fifth-graders who brought homemade posters that read “You’re electrifying!” and “Thank you for keeping us connected!”
“Imagine using this equipment every day,” Erkhart said to the students while showing them the company’s wide array of gear. “Everything we do is centered around safety and teamwork.”
Erkhart, along with linemen Chad Anderson and Garrett Parker, worked outdoors and presented students with everything from how to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to a lesson on how the lift on a bucket truck is powered by hydraulics.
Inside the school gymnasium, Marty Ladner, lead lineman, and Reese Walters, lineman, answered tough questions from students like “How much money do you make?” and “Is that stuff heavy?”
Ladner also had a message for the female students.
“Ladies, working at Mississippi Power isn’t just a guy thing,” he said. “At our company, we have lots of female engineers and managers. This could be a career for you.”
As a crew from the Pine Belt Division shared the same messages with students at Petal Upper Elementary, they were greeted with a poster that read “Welcome Mississippi Power linemen.”
Along with equipment demonstrations, linemen Jimmy Douglas, Chris Purvis, David Tanner and Daniel Tynes helped students get an up-close look at the bucket trucks and even sit inside the truck cab.
“We’re a very close team,” Douglas said. “We operate like one unit, and we always look after each other when we’re on the job. Being your brother’s keeper and getting the job done…that’s what being a lineman is all about.”