Navigate / search

Electric utility linemen to be honored on June 4

Seth Hammett, chairman of the Energy Institute of Alabama, addresses those gathered to celebrate Lineman Appreciation Day in 2017.

Lineman Appreciation Day has a special meaning for Tracy Riddle.

Riddle’s father, Ricky Sybert, worked for Joe Wheeler EMC from about 1968 until 1992. “He loved his job and he loved his co-workers,” Riddle recalls.

“I can remember him being on ‘trouble’ and getting a trouble call at night, or when it was storming. Even as a child, it worried me for him to go out, but it never seemed to bother him.”

Riddle was moved to contact Alabama Living when she saw a notification about the national Lineman Appreciation Day, which was in mid-April.

“He has gone to be with the Lord now, but every year (that) I see Lineman Appreciation Day, I wish he was here for me to tell him how much I appreciate how hard he worked,” Riddle says.

In Alabama, the Legislature passed a formal resolution in 2014 designating the first Monday in June as Lineman Appreciation Day, ensuring that linemen are formally recognized in our state every year.

Linemen are often first responders during storms and other catastrophic events, working in brutal weather conditions to ensure we all have safe and reliable power. They work with thousands of volts of electricity on power lines at any time of day or night, 365 days a year, sometimes far from their families.

Tracy Riddle’s father, Ricky Sybert, is on the far right in the front row in this photo taken around 1970. Sybert and the others graduated from lineman school together.

This year’s statewide Lineman Appreciation Day commemoration will be June 4 in Montgomery, and will involve personnel from Alabama’s electric utility industry, including linemen from the state’s rural electric cooperatives. The event, which will include the presentation of an outstanding service award to a utility team member, will feature several speakers as well as a catered meal and gifts for the linemen.

The event is being coordinated by the Energy Institute of Alabama, which works to build public support for Alabama’s energy industry.

On social media, you may see the #ThankALineman hashtag. It’s an important part of increasing awareness of Lineman Appreciation Day.

Even if you’re not on social media, you can do your part. If you see a line crew from your rural electric cooperative out working in your area, stop and say “thank you” to them for all they do to keep the lights on for all of us.

Linemen serve on the frontlines of our nation’s energy needs. There are about 18,000 full-time linemen in the electric cooperative program, making up nearly one-third of all distribution cooperative employees. Together, they maintain more than 2.5 million miles of distribution line for 850 systems across the country.

Alabama’s not-for-profit electric cooperatives employ some 600 linemen who help keep the lights on for more than 1 million Alabamians in 64 counties.

Allison Law