Eastern Kentucky was hit with catastrophic flooding last month, leaving more than 23,000 people without power. To assist with restoration efforts, AEP Ohio sent 24 assessors, 52 lineworkers and two drone teams. Among them was Eric Walton, Bucyrus’ distribution system supervisor, who felt incredibly humbled by the experience.
“These people truly lost everything but the clothes on their backs. I had seen pictures on the news, but it was nothing compared to the real-life devastation,” he shared. “There were residents using snowplows to clear mud and debris, schools completely submerged underwater and decades of family history washed away.
AEP Ohio personnel regularly respond to natural disasters, including hurricanes, ice storms and severe wind storms, but this historic flash flooding and resulting landslides posed unique challenges. Nevertheless, crews reported the kindness shown by residents in the impacted areas made them thankful and pushed them to keep working hard.
“They had great attitudes—despite what they went through, they smiled and were so appreciative of us being there,” Eric said. “I was just grateful to be able to help in some way.”
Although remote locations, inaccessible roadways and poor cell service combined with rain and extreme heat made for slow progress, Eric and the AEP Ohio crews were able to help restore power to more than 18,000 residents before returning home—a true testament to the power of teamwork and the bond of a community.