Valley Electricians Helping Restores Power in Florida
HARLINGEN – Several Rio Grande Valley people are doing their part to help in recovery efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.
It's been three weeks of working round the clock for Raymond Banda. He's a lineman for an electric company in Harlingen.
Banda said his company sent him to Port Aransas, once the storm cleared.
"In the Corpus (Christi) area, there was a stretch of 21 miles (of damaged lines)," he said. “It was a bunch of us and we put it all together and upright within two days."
After a one day break, he said they headed to the Florida area where Hurricane Irma left millions without power.
"It's chaos - complete chaos - lines down, trees down, property damage, property owners are devastated and some of them are left with nothing.
We have a lot of people coming up to us and saying we're heroes and they thank us and they cry and they hug us, they keep thanking us," Banda said.
Banda added the days are long and the work is tough. Sometimes a warm meal and shower are hard to come by.
He said the training and skills he learned after serving 10 years in the U.S. Army immediately kicked in.
"You have to stay alert to stay alive because, it is very dangerous," Banda said. "It's very hot, very humid, and then you are wearing rubber gloves, fire retardant clothing, so it's pretty hot - you get exhausted."
Banda said the goal is to move quickly. Most importantly, it's about finishing the job and getting home safe.
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