PG&E line workers are true heroes. Day in and day out, these men and women work tirelessly to power the communities where they live and work, yet most people don’t think about them unless their electricity goes out. . . Or if they’re walking the red carpet alongside John Travolta at an international film festival.
On Saturday night (Nov. 14), five PG&E linemen joined Travolta for the world premiere of his new film, “Life on the Line,” at the Napa Valley Film Festival.
The independent film focuses on a crew of linemen who work at great heights and under intense pressure to fix the electrical grid when they are hit by a sudden storm.
Prior to the screening Travolta noted that he was “excited because there are so many linemen here tonight . . . this is what the movie is dedicated to. If the film rings true for them, then it’s a home run.”
Local linemen Donovan Rupp, Mike Bock, Tanner Leckenby, Hubert Lower and Aaron Duran, all from the Napa area, attended the premiere and had an opportunity to meet Travolta and the other actors from the film.
“Travolta was a great guy,” Bock said. “You can tell he’s passionate about the work of first responders and put a lot of effort to learn about what we do. He was excited to meet our crew.”
Bock is a Napa native who has worked at PG&E for 29 years. Troublemen like Bock act as PG&E’s first responders. They are the first on the scene to assess outages or other hazardous conditions and determine the best course of action. Bock was joined at the premiere by his father Douglas Bock, who worked as a PG&E lineman in Calistoga for 43 years before retiring in 2010.
Growing up Bock recalled his father bringing home cool artifacts from the job site that melted under intense electrical heat. Bock brought along a mass of melted glass that happened after a 12,000-volt wire went down during a lightning storm. It was a good illustration of the extreme conditions that linemen work in. He put it in a glass case and brought it to the red carpet to give to Travolta.
The linemen in attendance, along with the hundreds of PG&E employees who call the Napa region their home, worked hard to getNapa back on the road to recovery in the aftermath of the 2014 earthquake and recent wildfires.
Before the film started the festival organizers praised PG&E for their work in the region and recognized the heroic work of the real-life linemen in the audience, who received a standing ovation from the crowd.
On what they thought of the movie, Lower remarked, “I enjoyed the movie. It was interesting to hear and see what the actors and producers thought of our trade. I think it was a very nice tribute to linemen across the country.”
Ever the sticklers for safety, the linemen compared notes on some of the more sensational scenes. Bock laughed, “On a real job site we’re working quickly, but we’re also working safely. If the movie had shown all the safety discussions and equipment checks, it wouldn’t have been half as exciting.”