national lineman appreciation day 14 logoWhen the lights go out, so do they. How often do you #thankalineman?

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association celebrates April 18, 2014, as National Lineman Appreciation Day. (Edison Electric Institute and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers celebrated March 31, 2014.) Although no resolution passed Congress to make the holiday official, it’s a great opportunity to celebrate the men (and women) who support our nation’s electric infrastructure. There are several creative ways to #thankalineman:

Surprise Snacks

Have volunteers pack up snacks for linemen to take on the road. Ask every member services representative to write a thank you card and add a card to each bag. Place the surprise snacks either in each utility truck early Friday morning or place them in your utility’s linemen office/meeting space.

  • Supplies: Small brown paper lunch bags, snack variety packs (found at WalMart, grocery stores), candy bars, and either bottled water or an energy drink. Support other types of co-ops by including treats such as Blue Diamond almonds or Sun-Maid Raisins.
  • Tip: Although an apple might be healthy, bear in mind linemen often eat on the run.

Biscuits & Banners

Nothing says, “Thank You,” like a warm biscuit.  Treat your linemen to a breakfast on Friday and hang a “Thank You” banner on your warehouse dock (alternative: post 8.5 by 11 flyers). Keep the banner or flyers up for at least a week.

  • Supplies: Call ahead to your local biscuit supplier (or a chain such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box). Order a biscuit for each of your linemen. You may want to order enough to feed other operations and engineering staff, too.
  • Tip: Get a picture of your CEO/General Manager hanging up the banner to use in your employee newsletter. With enough notice, Ruralite Services designs and delivers snazzy, personalized banners for your utility. For now, print out our Lineman Appreciation Flyer (PDF).

Lemonade for Linemen

As the linemen return to the docks, have either a) local schoolchildren or b) member service representatives or c) senior staff and your local chamber of commerce president hand out lemonade to the crews.

  • Supplies: Buy in bulk from your local grocery store or buy sugar, water, and lemon juice and make it from scratch. Serve from a large thermos or other container; have a stack of plastic cups handy.
  • Tip: Invite local press to snap pictures. If the afternoon time doesn’t work, consider having staff fill thermos for the linemen to take with them in the morning (some crews attach a thermos to their bucket trucks). Not a fan of lemons? Use ice cream or popsicles.

Thank You/Gift Cards

Is there a local business many of your linemen frequent? Consider giving them a small gift card to the business inside a thank you card from your CEO/General Manager and senior staff.

Social Support

Our graphic designer, Duy Mai, created a Facebook cover image and 2 timeline photos to help you celebrate online:

lineman hardhat, when the lights go out, so do they

Ready for 2015?

Celebrations in 2013 and 2014 were not announced in time to print linemen profiles in Ruralite magazine or organize community celebrations, but we’ll be ready in 2015. Ideas include:

  • Magazine Feature: A Day in the Life of a Lineman
  • Organize a community 5K (Example: Fallen Lineman Organization)
  • Work with your local elementary or middle school to arrange a visit from a crew.
  • Ask local school children to send ‘Thank You’ cards to the linemen, then display them in the lineman’s work area for the rest of the month.
  • Work with your local parks and recreation department to organize a Touch a Truck Day (Visit the Shaw Local news website for an example.)