Love on the line: A Lineman’s Spouse Perspective
Line work is a tough job, and is not for everyone—and those who choose to marry linemen are in a class by themselves. Their loved ones are often gone for long stretches of time, working at physically demanding and dangerous jobs, leaving the spouse to run their homes and families alone while their husbands are on the road. Here’s a look at one wife who is proud to be married to a lineman and represents many other linemen wives’ perspective.
HE WAS A LINEMAN WHEN WE STARTED DATING
When Kelly Latham was dating her husband Rodney, he was already a lineman and she quickly became accustomed to interruptions in the middle of an enjoyable dinner when he had to suddenly leave. Rodney, a 20-year lineman, also has two brothers who are linemen. “I guess it’s in the blood,” Kelly said. Every time Rodney had to leave, the first thing that popped in her head was safety. “His job is so dangerous and I would just pray that he and the other linemen would be okay. Working on powerlines is inherently dangerous and you have to leave it in God’s hands for the safe return of your loved one every night,” she said.
When Rodney was in high school, he wanted a profession that would provide for his future family. His first job as a line worker was with a contractor, requiring him to travel a great deal. Securing a job with the co-op afforded him the opportunity to be home more often, especially in the evenings to eat with the family, assist with homework and help with their three active sons. “We were blessed with a local company. With three boys heavily involved in extracurricular activities, Rodney could participate and be there for the most part. There were times when he had to miss a game or even leave in the middle of an event, or couldn’t coach, but it’s part of the life style,” Kelly said.
The toughest times for the family is when he has to leave unexpectedly, without having an opportunity to say goodbye to the boys, or being away on holidays. Additionally, there are extended outage events or times he would have to travel out of state, sometimes for an entire week. In his absence, Kelly goes into her “single mom mode” as she calls it, to keep the daily routine moving as smoothly as possible for herself and the kids. Kelly admits it keeps her mind busy and helps her not to worry as much during those difficult times.
One particular incident she remembers is when he had to travel to Kentucky where they had a very dangerous ice storm that paralyzed the state. “I was very nervous about that trip, but thank God for modern technology, such as Face Time, where he was able to stay in touch with me and the boys.” Working with frozen power lines and other freezing conditions proved to be physically draining and difficult, but Rodney and all of CAEC’s employees are devoted to helping people and it’s demonstrated through their quality of work.
Kelly’s faith keeps her grounded when Rodney is away, believing everyone will return to their loved ones after the power restoration is successful. The linemen have a brotherhood and truly watch out for each other – emphasizing safety is the number one priority!
When you sum it up, Kelly feels the pros outweigh the cons by a long shot. Rodney spends time teaching his sons (ages 15, 8 and 6) about electrical safety, the personal protective equipment the linemen wear and of course they love to see their dad in the bucket truck. Rodney becomes the personal hero for his sons when he’s out with his crew trying to restore power. He’s not only a hero to them, but he’s also a hero to Kelly.