‘I’m in good hands’
Bridget Kelly’s guardian angels in the storm battering her New York neighborhood showed up at her door in a High Point Electric Utilities Department truck.
Kelly is a lifelong resident of the village of Rockville Centre, N.Y., on the southern tip of Long Island. When Hurricane Sandy struck two weeks ago, her neighborhood was thrust into darkness as power lines and poles were ripped down by high winds. The hurricane knocked out the power along Kelly’s neighborhood street on Oct. 29. She and her family, as well as her nearby friends, were enduring their sixth day without electricity when an unfamiliar, but welcome, vehicle arrived.
“This High Point truck pulls up on the main street. We were standing outside, and they came over. They were so polite, so calm,” Kelly told The High Point Enterprise in a phone interview.
The men from the High Point Electric Utilities Department arrived in Rockville Centre the evening of Oct. 30 as part of an effort by power crews across the country to help in the Northeast. They spent the better part of a week fixing lines in the town of about 24,000 people.
Four hours after the High Point crew showed up on Kelly’s street, her lights came back on.
“They were so efficient, so hard-working. And it was very cold and breezy. They worked nonstop and were professional. You walked away with this good feeling that you’re in good hands,” she said.
Just as Kelly and her neighbors were enjoying their restored electricity after Sandy, a nor’easter roared through the area. On Wednesday, Kelly’s home lost electricity once more. She found out through a message while she was away from her house.
“So now it’s snowing, and I have two children, a 12- and a 10-year-old. So I go home, and who’s in front of my house? A truck from High Point. I say, ‘I’m in good hands, High Point is here,’” she said.
Within two hours, the crews restored the power again in her neighborhood, said Kelly, who was familiar with High Point because of the furniture market and relatives who live in North Carolina.
The nine workers from High Point have moved on to help another community – nearby Melville, N.Y. – recovering from Sandy and the nor’easter, said Larry Hopkins, operations engineer for the Electric Utilities Department.
“Right now, we’re not really sure when they are going to return,” Hopkins said.
Kelly said the positive experiences that she and her neighbors have had with High Point power crews have taken place across the Northeast between people out of power and visitors bringing aid and hope. At a time when the election supposedly shows Americans so divided, Kelly has witnessed a different perspective on her country through the response to the storms.
“There are other states here helping as well. It’s amazing to see this unity, that people come and help you during difficult times,” she said. “I don’t think people stop and say thank you enough. These folks from High Point are leaving their families to help us, and we’re so appreciative of it.”
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