In years past, GVEC Executive Manager of Operations Richard McKinney has always treated his line team to breakfast or lunch for National Lineman Appreciation Day (April 18) with little fanfare or fuss. For the most part, the day is otherwise treated as a typical workday. This approach largely stems from the way linemen themselves approach their jobs.
“As a former lineman myself,” McKinney explains, “I can tell you we don’t do this for rewards or recognition. We view line work as service to community. That’s not to say we don’t appreciate an occasional pat on the back or a ‘thank you’—we do—but even on Lineman Appreciation Day, the focus is on performing at a high level, delivering the unexpected and exceeding member expectations.”
A More Emphatic ‘Thank You’
In 2021, GVEC Executive Assistant Ida Herrera approached McKinney about possibly making Lineman Appreciation Day a bit more special.
To Herrera’s thinking, events of the last two years—chiefly COVID-19 and Winter Storm Uri—not only increased the pressures of line work, but also highlighted the job’s extreme importance to the Cooperative mission. Herrera wasn’t aiming for extravagance, but for a more emphatic way of saying, “Thank you; you are appreciated.”
McKinney agreed, and for Lineman Appreciation Day 2021, Herrera coordinated with other departments across GVEC to draft “Thank You” letters for Cooperative line crews. McKinney and Herrera also organized prize drawings for the 106 total crew members spread between three Cooperative offices.
We thought it turned out really well,” McKinney says, adding that Lineman Appreciation Day 2022 will likely be very similar. “We’ll take everyone to lunch, too—just like last year. And of course, [GVEC General Manager and CEO] Darren [Schauer] and [Chief Operating Officer] Sean [Alvarez] will stop by to thank the team in person.”
For his part, Schauer supports the extra recognition for GVEC crews on Lineman Appreciation Day 2022. “The last few years have been unprecedented in GVEC history,” he says. “From Winter Storm Uri and rolling blackouts, to a nationwide pandemic—our linemen approach these challenges head-on, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
Schauer also notes the volunteer work a team of eight GVEC linemen did last August in Louisiana to help the Washington-St. Tammany Electric Cooperative restore power after Hurricane Ida. “Our team worked 10 16-hour days on behalf of Washington-St. Tammany members. They were paid in gratitude and the satisfaction of serving others.” Schauer says. “That kind of selflessness exemplifies the cooperative spirit, and we’re happy to show them in a more tangible way how much we value the work they do.”
Lineman Appreciation Day 2022: Another Day of Service to Community
While Lineman Appreciation Day 2022 will certainly be another day on the job like any other—another day of serving and overcoming whatever challenges arise out on the line—it will also be a day when Cooperative line crews can take a little extra satisfaction in knowing they are appreciated for all they do.