National Lineworker Appreciation Day is Sunday, April 18

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Sunday, April 18 is National Lineworker Appreciation Day, a time to commemorate the men and women responsible for constructing and maintaining much of our energy infrastructure.

Local line and utility workers are a behind the scenes component of Black Hills Energy. Once referred to as linemen, the field has grown to include women, who are now referred to as line workers. They repair, maintain, and put up new power-lines that keep electricity running through the city, and during bad weather, their job of getting power back on for residents is even more crucial.

“It never fails that we usually get called into work when it’s freezing cold out, blowing wind and rain,” said apprentice lineworker, Ryan Wright. “Middle of the the storm kind of thing. And it can really test your mental and physical toughness I guess. You just have to kind of keep your wits about you, and think through everything.

Regardless of good or bad weather, there are challenges and safety precautions that must be taken, and in some cases, even special gear to ensure the safety of workers. 

“If it’s not grounded it’s not dead,” said Wright. “And we’ll go into a storm job with that mindset. Basically you don’t touch anything until you confirm it’s dead. Just everything is a hazard until you have control of it basically.”

Wright says it is still a rewarding job. He loves the opportunity to work with his hands outside and see his handiwork in town and the hills. He also loves the thrill.

He said, “I wouldn’t recommend it for someone who has a fear of heights, but it is something you kind of look forward to. Yeah, it gives you a thrill, it’s an adrenaline rush. It’s just a cool viewpoint, it’s a nice office.”

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