LOUISIANA (WKBN)- Nearly 50 Valley workers are on their way home from Louisiana after helping with Hurricane Ida restoration efforts.
The workers from Ohio Edison and Penn Power worked together as a group with nearly 500 First Energy workers helping with the restoration efforts after Hurricane Ida.
“These people, you just pull up into neighborhoods and trees are on their houses, they’re just devastated,” said Penn Power General Manger Jason Nixon, who is also from Boardman.
A million people were without power when the storm hit in August. First Energy workers helped in multiple districts for about two weeks, including near LaPlace, which had the most damage after 100 mph winds.
They worked together to ensure their safety and rebuilt several miles of the power system to get the main power back on.
“Just the spirit of our employees and how much they care on a day to day basis and then seeing them in this situation where it’s devastating,” Nixon said. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”
That spirit was evident everywhere, according to the First Energy workers. While they were replacing thousands of downed and broken utility poles and hanging new power lines, the Louisiana residents couldn’t have been nicer, bringing them pizzas, lemonade and hometown favorites like gumbo and jambalaya. It was something they could do while being patient as the crews worked.
“You have to. You have to make the best of what it is. There’s nothing you can do about it,” said Bonnie Naquin, of Harrison, Louisiana.
“We go back to a place with power. They’re sitting in this intense heat, and they still come out and want to pray with you and they just want your safety,” Nixon said.
This was Nixon’s first road trip with First Energy. Other workers had been to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, which had more water damage. Ida had stronger winds.
They helped restore 90% of the power before returning home.
“Thank you for fixing our wires. Thank you,” said Louisiana resident Jayden Simoneaux.