Lewis Tree Service, Inc., an employee-owned company located in its three-day-old corporate headquarters in West Henrietta, New York, has sent almost 600 line-clearance, tree-trimming personnel for the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.
Lewis first received calls for assistance from The Southern Company on Friday, Aug. 26, for 150 tree-trimming crews with supervision and support. By early that Saturday morning, the 400-plus Lewis personnel from various East-Coast operating work areas were on the road for destination unknown in Georgia. On that Sunday, as Katrina continued its path toward New Orleans and the crews continued toward Georgia, new staging areas were established in Alabama. Additional crew assistance calls came in from Central Louisiana Electric Company, based in Pineville, Lousiana, for 25 tree-trimming crews with supervision. On Monday morning, as Katrina made landfall, many of the Lewis crews found lodging in Alabama while others were traveling to Louisiana for new housing accommodations closer to the work locations. Early Tuesday morning, with more than 500 LTS personnel again on the move to new locations or reestablished locations for long-term restoration, some of the crews began the clean-up process. By early Tuesday afternoon, additional personnel and equipment were requested as Lewis continues to contact its East-Coast utility customer base to secure releases for these manpower requests.
The magnitude of Hurricane Katrina may be one of the worst-ever to strike the U.S. mainland, based on dollar cost for restoration. For Lewis Tree Service, the response to date is about 60% of the response provided for Hurricane Isabel a few years ago. Lewis' storm response for Isabel provided 1000 tree-trimming personnel and 75 additional support staff.