Residents in Malverne, West Hempstead, Lakeview and Lynbrook have a new-found appreciation for North Carolina, Illinois, Wisconsin, Maine, Texas, Minnesota, Tennessee and Canada.
After going more than 10 days without power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, thousands of home and business owners across the four communities finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel when their electricity was restored in recent days.
But it wasn't the Long Island Power Authority that brought most of its roughly 10,000 customers in these suburbs back on the grid. Instead, utility crews from North Carolina, Illinois, Wisconsin, Maine, Texas, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Canada have been putting in countless hours over the past week to restore Long Island's power-less.
These crews have been using the parking lots behind the San Dee Lanes bowling alley in Malverne and across from the Long Island Railroad station in West Hempstead as their staging areas. The village of Malverne also opened up its Department of Public Works headquarters, which is equipped with showers, a kitchen and cots, to give out-of-state workers a place to rest when they weren't out working. Some residents were even dropping off homemade cookies and sandwiches for the crews.
The efforts by these outsiders have paid off. As of Tuesday morning, the number of Malverne homes still without power was down from a high of 3,300 to only nine, and residents have been singing the praises of the workers.
"Thank you, NORTH CAROLINA for getting us back to normal!" one Malverne resident on Linmouth Road posted on Patch on Nov. 8, just 30 minutes after power came back to that block.
That same night, the electricity was also restored to Clarkson and Crimson avenues in Malverne, prompting Patch reader Theresa M. to write:
"Thank you to the guys from North Carolina. They couldn't have been any more helpful to us. When the power went back up on our block, our home was still without. The guy came in, looked at our box and told us to call the electrician as the main power fuse now needed to be replaced. Must have been a surge when the power went back on. The men from North Carolina actually came back to our home to check up on us, make sure that everything was okay. You couldn’t ask for a nicer crew."
On Saturday, one West Hempstead resident on Maxwell Street was starting to lose hope that he would not see his power in the near future as he entered Day 13 in the dark.
"Still out with no sign of LIPA. Maybe by Christmas?" he wrote on Patch at 9:14 a.m. on Nov. 10. But 3.5 hours later, he had good news to report. "Miracles do happen," he said. "An out-of-state crew came by about 10:30 a.m. and in 10 minutes restored power on Maxwell Street."
The next day, residents on Groton Place in West Hempstead cheered for joy as an electric crew from Decatur, Illinois restored power to their homes after being in the dark for 14 days. West Hempstead had more than 3,000 homes, businesses and schools lose power due to the hurricane, but as of Nov. 13, there were only 54 still out.
Lynbrook's number of affected customers was also down from more than 4,000 to a mere 17 Tuesday, and in Lakeview, which had 1,900 homes out at one point, there were less than five experiencing outages.
As local residents expressed their appreciation for the out-of-state crews, the wife of one of the workers from North Carolina let them know that the families of these linemen were grateful for the kind words and gestures.
Using the name DallasNC for Dallas, North Carolina, she wrote on Patch:
"Thank you for all the nice comments for the NC crew. My husband is on this crew and they have been working hard (16 to 18 hours a day). He has a cold and is tired but still working hard so he can be home for Thanksgiving. They are wonderful men. When you see the City of Gastonia truck please be patient (they can only do what they are told) with them and tell them thank you. They have been gone for over a week and we miss them very much! You all are in our prayer and hopefully, you will all have your power on soon, they are working as fast as they can. They are also thankful to be able to stay in the village so they can work."
She then added:
"[This] is what America is all about: in times of need we all should help out however we can for one another."
Did an out-of-state crew restore your power? Thank them by posting a comment below.