In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, Arkansas County was hit drastically by a large line of severe thunderstorms with straight-line winds late Sunday evening April 12, causing power outages across the state. At the peak of the storm Monday morning, 128,000 customers had lost power.
More than 3,300 Entergy employees, contractors and linemen borrowed from other utility companies have been working to rebuild the electrical system since Monday, which includes replacing 1,375 broken poles, more than 2,000 spans of wire and all the related electrical components.
Appreciating their efforts, the community of Stuttgart came together to feed the linemen, but that wasn’t all. While much of the population are under directives and guidance from the governor due to COVID-19, thousands of essential workers still risk their lives everyday continuing their services and job duties.
Heath Mitchell of Ollie’s Wrecker Service teamed up with community members to feed over 400 essential workers Thursday in the parking lot of his business.
Hamburger plates were served throughout the day to essential workers in the community.
“That was our goal, to show our appreciation,” said Mitchell. “They left their families at home and came from everywhere out of state to help us and we just wanted to show our appreciation.”
Mitchell said it was a community contribution that made the event possible.
Cody Holbert, Shawn Timmerman, Jeremy Sayger, Waylon Wiggins, Eric Seyller, Eric Sanek, William Trahern, Heath Mitchell, Amanda Wherry, James Jones, Seyller Electric, ABS, Cox Heating and Air and Walmart all contributed to the occasion.
“We fed approximately 200 linemen and fed the hospital shift, both day and night,” said Mitchell. “We also fed the ambulance service, police department, workers from the gas company and the fire department.”
Entergy Arkansas President and CEO Laura Landreaux said in her statement that crews are working hard to bring back power as quickly as they safely can.
“Our linemen want customers to know how grateful they are for the well wishes, generosity and support for their safety as they manage through storm damage of historical proportions while also dealing with the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, “said Landreaux.
Wherry explained that gratitude was displayed by everyone who was served.
“Everyone was very appreciative,” said Wherry. “All the linemen were really happy.”