Long hours hard on families of power linemen


FORT MYERS, Fla. It’s not easy being married to a lineman.

Kimberly Slaybaugh knows this all too well. She didn’t see her husband Jeff for 16 days while he been worked to restore power to thousands after Hurricane Irma.

“I think it takes a lot to give up what they give up, and to have to walk away from your family and go do your job,” Kimberly said.

Jeff is a Lee County Electrical Cooperative lineman, and Kimberly is proud of him for it.

“I think it takes a pretty selfless individual to do what they do,” Kimberly said.

Hurricane Irma hit Southwest Florida and left hundreds of thousands without power, water or air conditioning. As the days progressed, area residents took to social media to express their frustrations.

Kimberly empathized with those leaving comments but stressed the need for patience and understanding after the storm.

“I know it’s hard to not have power,” Kimberly said. “But I think that if Irma taught us anything it’s to be selfless and think about other people more and do for more.”

Kimberly evacuated with her three children ahead of the storm and returned to find her roof damaged. She used the stressful time as a learning opportunity for her daughter.

Both cooked nearly 80 meals to give to other linemen and linewomen working to restore power.

“… When she’s in a hardship or a bad situation, maybe it will teach her to give back to the community and turn it into a positive instead of a negative,” Kimberly said.

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