Henkels & McCoy’s storm restoration capabilities have been tested by the most extreme conditions. Hurricanes Ike and Gustav have been no different. Henkels & McCoy’s Central Region has sent approximately 200 employees and over 190 pieces of equipment to the Baton Rouge, La. and Porter, Tex. areas.
On Aug. 31, the crews left home and drove to Canton, Miss., where they had the men and equipment checked into the Entergy system. Lodging was more difficult with the 90+ crew staying in church camps and lodging at Percy Quin State Park. Sleeping bags were given to those who stayed in the cabins and dorms for Boy Scouts.
Then on to Baton Rouge, La. where the only accommodations available were box trailers with bunks running down each side three high. Each trailer could sleep 36 men and many opted to sleep in their trucks. As in Mississippi, H&M changed out a large number of broken poles and crossarms, damaged transformers, and repaired or replaced several miles of downed primary. All eight general foreman and 150+ men were working in the same area, and often on the same circuit and line. On the last two nights, the H&M crews finally got rooms.
In New Caney, Texas, crews slept in their trucks or brought tents to sleep in. The staging area was at the New Caney sixth grade school, where half of the crews slept on cots in the school cafeteria or in their trucks. The other half were lucky enough to get hotel rooms, with two men in the singles and at least three in the double rooms. The maintenance and custodial staff at the school gave the crews everything they needed and were wonderful.
Currently, the crews are driving back from Saratoga, Texas, and with any luck they will all be home safe soon.