Local lineman headed to Puerto Rico to help after hurricane

By Melissa Rollins, Editor, editor@newsandpress.net

Restoring power after devastating storms is tough work but someone’s got to do it. Darlington native Christopher Boaz recently signed up to be one of those people, heading to Puerto Rico on a three-month contract.

“CSI Powerline is the company we’re working with,” Boaz said. “They do a lot of chasing storms and working natural disasters and things of that nature. What they will do is reach out to linemen or anyone in their database that they can and ask if they would be interested in going to help.”

Chris Boaz recently set his sights on Puerto Rico, helping the country rebuild after the devastating hurricane. Contributed Photo.

Boaz said that initially there were several Darlingtonians signed up but the extended contract time caused several to change their minds.

“It started out that there were seven of us that were going and once they found out we would be in a three-month contract a few of them dropped out,” Boaz said. “Right there at the last minute before we left, another three dropped out so it is just Jack Melton and me now. I put some stuff on Facebook and I’ve gotten a few phone calls from linemen that I know so we may still get more people to show up.”

The group left on the 17th after making their way to Dallas, Texas for their orientation and to fill out all the necessary paperwork.

Boaz said it was a no-brainer for him to head to Puerto Rico.

“They are in a bad way down there,” he said. “If it was my family and it was something that it was close to home, I would appreciate all the help that I could get. They are part of this country too.”

With his particular set of skills being in demand, he said he was happy to help.

“There is not a lot that I can do, I can’t perform a miracle or lifesaving surgery,” Boaz said. “I can’t give money to causes that I don’t have but I can build powerlines. I just feel like I need to help out where I can.”

While he is used to being on the road for his job, this extended trip will be hard because he leaves behind his wife and five kids; the oldest is seven and the youngest is seven months old.

“I have been doing linework for fifteen, almost sixteen years,” Boaz said. “It isn’t like you got to the same place every morning and work the same hours or if there is a little storm that hits you go there. In the contract world, you go to work where you can. We’ve worked for Duke Energy mostly and Duke is in North Carolina and spread all over South Carolina. My typical workweek was leaving the house Sunday night and not returning until pretty early Thursday. That’s the way I’ve worked; this will just be a little different because I’ll be gone longer than four days.”

Boaz said that his group will be doing what they do best: linework.

“We are strictly going down there to do transmission linework,” Boaz said. “They’ve got to get their transmission system going before they can ever get their distribution going.”

Author: Duane Childers

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