Tipping the hard hat to Mississippi's linemen

SANDERSVILLE, MS (WDAM) - A certain group of folks often remaining behind the scenes while playing a huge part in our daily lives is in the spotlight. If you didn't know, Friday is National Linemen Day. With that in mind, we went along with a crew of Mississippi Power linemen to get an idea of what it takes.

Welcome to their office, a place where the view changes daily and so does the task.

"Everybody can't do it, but the ones that do, they get a lot of pride from it," said Mississippi Power lead lineman Craig Shoemake.

These men are some of the roughly 150 Mississippi Power linemen stretching from the Gulf Coast to Meridian. The task at hand, setting new poles in Sandersville to upgrade the system for more reliable service. For Shoemake, it's more than just a lot of hard work, but a lifelong interest.

"When I was a young boy, I was just always fascinated with the big trucks, the diggers trucks and watching them climb poles and things like that. It just always fascinated me," said Shoemake.

Now with about 20 years under his hard hat, Shoemake says finishing the job comes down to one thing.

"When you can actually see the costumer and get their power back on and they're just so grateful, that's what makes it all worth it right there," said Shoemake.

To pull it all off, it takes a hard working crew, some heavy equipment and a whole lot of planning, and it's dangerous work. Last weekend, two linemen in Massachusetts were killed after falling about 170 feet when their bucket truck lost stability. While safety is always at the forefront, Mississippi Power spokesman Jeff Shepard says the danger is always there and so is the job at hand.

"The work that these guys do, it's all behind the scenes," said Shepard. "They don't look for glory, they don't look for recognition but they really deserve a pat on the back and so much more because of the tremendous job that they do."

It's a job Shepard says takes years to craft and forms a tight knight community of workers.

"Unfortunately, they're just not thought of. They may not be a part of the equation when it comes to delivering power, but as soon as you have an issue, they're the first guys you're going to be thinking of," said Shepard.

"A lineman is just a different breed of man. If you've got a lineman, you've got a friend to the end," said Shoemake.

Copyright 2014 WDAM. All rights reserved.