There are a number of holidays and appreciation days we celebrate. Some more important than others. We don’t observe National Bacon Day (Dec. 30) or National Cupcake Day (Feb. 9) like we do Labor Day. And it’s sometimes difficult to pin down the exact date we celebrate an event. The Fourth of July is easy to remember, but for Easter, we go back to a formula determined in 325 A.D.
This month, Tennessee’s electric cooperatives will celebrate Lineman Appreciation Day on Monday, April 10. This is one of those days that’s difficult to pin down, so you might see other dates set aside to recognize these courageous workers.
Some quick background: In 2013, the U.S. Senate declared April 18 of that year as Lineman Appreciation Day. This was a one-time resolution, not an ongoing designation. Though the 2013 resolution only applied to that specific year, many electric cooperatives planned on using that date the next year. However, April 18, 2014, fell on Good Friday — not the best day for an appreciation day. So many utilities used another date.
The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s board of directors decided that for subsequent years, the second Monday of each April would be Lineman Appreciation Day. The board took this action to ensure that the date always falls on a weekday and never falls on Good Friday. So, more than 900 electric cooperatives throughout the nation will recognize this date.
Other electric utilities and organizations chose different days: The International Brotherhood of Electric Workers celebrates on July 10; the Edison Electric Institute has also used different dates.
No matter what is recognized as the “official” date, the recognition is well-deserved. Linemen are truly “first responders” during storms and other catastrophes, often working to make the scene safe for other public safety personnel. It’s a dangerous job that doesn’t respect family time, distance from home or the hour of the day.
Just last month, our cooperatives were hit by fast-moving storms that caused damage from the Mississippi River to the Georgia state line. Linemen worked from late one evening until late the next night. One cooperative experienced an outage that at its peak left more than 10,000 member-owners in the dark. Crews began working as soon as they could. In an email update on recovery efforts, the co-op CEO wrote, “Our crews will migrate across the system until everyone’s power is restored.”
That’s what linemen do. They don’t wait until it’s convenient before beginning to restore power. No matter the conditions, if they can safely perform the work, linemen stay on the job until your electricity is back on.
Back to the confusion on the date for Lineman Appreciation Day. What day is really Lineman’s Day? The answer lies in the words of Senate Resolution 95 from 2013: “… linemen work with thousands of volts of electricity high atop power lines 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to keep electricity flowing.”
No matter the “official” date, for those of us who recognize the importance of the job they perform, Lineman Appreciation Day is every day.