ATLANTA — Drive by the Georgia Power headquarters in Atlanta at night and you're bound to notice something special.
The company is using the side of its own 24-story building to pay homage to some of its most important employees -- just in time for National Thank a Lineman Day.
Linemen are some of the first utility workers back into disaster-torn areas working to return power to affected areas. Even in far lesser storms, they're often all over the region repairing lines damaged by downed trees or wind.
“Whether it is a historic hurricane, a summer storm or a fallen tree that knocks out power, our linemen work as quickly and safely as possible to get the power back on for our 2.6 million customers across Georgia,” said Pedro Cherry, executive vice president of customer service and operations for Georgia Power.
Their work became a critical part of recovery in the last year when, in 2018, the third-strongest hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. in modern history crossed the state. Hurricane Michael slammed southwest Georgia before heading further north.
Southern Company sent 5,800 personnel from Georgia Power and sister companies to restore power to nearly half a million customers.
According to Georgia Power, these crews replaced roughly 2,000 broken or damaged power poles and nearly 220 miles of wire while also cleaning 1,200 fallen trees in the process.
And while April is actually Lineman Appreciation Month, the utility company said locals didn't wait that long to thank these important workers with signs, letters and social media posts telling them just how important their jobs were.
Even when the damage isn't in Georgia, the linemen often get called away from home to help restore power in other states - traveling thousands of miles in the process.
“That’s why we are proud to recognize them and show our appreciation not just this month, but every day,” Cherry said.