Owensville lineman returns from electric restoration trip in Puerto Rico
With 125-mile-per-hour winds, Hurricane Maria wiped out thousands of homes and businesses in Puerto Rico.
An estimated 450,000 people were left without electricity. Nearly six months later and more than 2,000 miles away, Ameren Missouri Lineman Mike Myers was given the opportunity to help.
"I thought it would be a good deed to help them out and offer my services too," he said.
The Owensville man and his team loaded their gear and boarded a plane to Puerto Rico. When they arrived, Mike said it was a sight he'll never forget.
"It was mind-blowing. The wires still laying on the ground, the amount of devastation, the wires still laying on the ground, the electric lines still in the trees laying everywhere," he explained.
During their three-week stay, the team of 70 plus linemen restored electricity for countless residents. While many memories were made, there's one Mike will always remember.
"An older lady she came up to me and she spoke good English. It was just me and another guy and she was worried," he said. "The local area was telling her it was going to be $2,000 to hook her electric back up and she didn't have the money to do it. I looked at what her house was and everything to do it and I was able to hook her up the next day and turn her power back on.
"She was crying and hugging me and she said anything in my home, you are welcome to. Just for doing what I felt was my job, but she was upset, crying. It was very touching."
Back at home, Mike was greatly missed.
"Whenever he left it took a lot of tears because we was all sad that he was leaving," daughter Payton said.
But life on their family farm went on.
"I learned to drive a tractor and take feed. To keep alive 77 head of cattle was quite the adventure," Brandy said as she explained life without her husband.
But three weeks later, the family of four was once again reunited.
"I got in the car and gave him a big ol' hug," Payton said.
And while he's glad to get those hugs at home now, Mike is also thankful for the help he was able to provide.
"All linemen are kind of rough and tough, but we've got big hearts and when you see people crying and cheering because they get their power on after six months, it's very rewarding."