COLUMBUS – NPPD’s Bill Kuehn was among a few volunteers from Nebraska who were chosen to help restore power in the Virgin Islands, following destruction caused by a hurricane.
Kuehn, a Senior Planner in the Columbus Office, and Dennis Wademan, a Superintendent for the Scottsbluff area, flew over to the Virgin Islands on December 12th, for a thirty day trip, where they would work to restore power to the island’s residents.
“it was super neat to see everything, the people were super nice, that sticks out, I mean they were just very appreciative. Their lifestyle is a lot different than it is here. They’re very laid back, and it’s always hello, good morning, good morning, good morning, It’s real neat that way,” says Kuehn.
Kuehn says traveling was difficult at times, with no road signs and very tight roadways to travel on.
“There’s no decent path to go from one point to the other. The way we got around was to use an iPad, and it had the whole system on the iPad, and so we could go from pole to pole, and punch in a pole number, and find out where we were at and where we wanted to be,” says Kuehn.
Kuehn says a lot of islanders have spent months without power, because of the damage, and says there was a lot of work that needed to be done when they arrived on the island. Kuehn says after lineman would go through and patch up damaged services, Kuehn and crew would go t through and take notes/address changes that needed to be made.
“Going back over the whole island again, to look at everything that they did, kind of on a temporary basis, kind of put it together with a band aid if you will. So we went and wrote notes about all of that stuff that needed to be addressed in the future. There was a lot of safety hazards, that if someone didn’t address it, someone could get themselves in trouble,” says Kuehn.
With Kuehn and Wademan returning, two new NPPD volunteers took their place to continue the effort in TJ Rutledge, of Chadron, and Mick Snell, of Plattsmouth.