Cookeville Electric workers aid in hurricane relief

Front row on sidewalk Left to right: Carl Haney, Operations Superintendent; Councilman Mark Miller, Tony Peek, Director; Vice-Mayor Laurin Wheaton, Councilman Eric Walker, Councilman Dr. Chuck Womack and Mayor Ricky Shelton. On the truck: front man is Crew Chief James Smith, then L-R is Equipment Operator Kevin Buhl, and Journeyman Linemen Chris Stover and Bryan Proffitt

By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor

COOKEVILLE – At 6 a.m. this morning a second Cookeville Electric Department (CED) crew departed to assist with the restoration effort in Blountstown, Florida. They will relieve the CED crew that was deployed last Friday. Blountstown was completely devastated by Hurricane Michael. We are pleased to report that significant progress has been made with the main circuits being restored and some customers now having power.

Photo provided by Mayor Ricky Shelton CREDIT: Josh McCowan

Josh McCowan, a journeyman lineman with CED, shared this picture with Mayor Ricky Shelton today.

“We got this lady’s power restored today,” McCowan reported.  “She was the first our crew got back on and she was beyond grateful. She broke down in tears.

“I, myself, along with the rest of our crew, have been humbled with the thanks,” McCowan added. “We appreciate the opportunity to come help these people.”

The original CED crew left last Friday headed to Blountstown. Blountstown is about 40 miles inland from Panama City and Mexico Beach. Blountsville was devastated by the hurricane and CED was warned that they would be looking at a complete rebuild.

Due to the tireless efforts of crews from CED and other utilities working 16-hour days, power is being restored to houses weeks earlier than estimated.

Photo provided by Mayor Ricky Shelton

The first CED crew that responded consists of Mike Phy, crew chief; Josh McCowan, journeyman lineman; Cameron Selby, journeyman lineman; and Zeb Randolph, apprentice lineman.  This crew will be coming home as the new crew takes their place.

The Cookeville crew that was deployed today consists of James Smith, crew chief; Bryan Proffitt, journeyman lineman; Chris Stover, journeyman lineman; and Kevin Buhl, equipment operator.

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