MADISON, IL - Gateway Motorsports Park opened the infield Saturday in Madison, Ill. to raise awareness and money for families of fallen electrical workers during the Drivin’ for Lineman 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Race.
Truck racer Jordan Anderson met electrical linemen at the event in 2014. He became an instant fan.
“These guys are the People’s People. They are out there working in the fields, doing dangerous jobs and putting their lives on the line to make sure we have power and to keep us safe.”
But lineman and event sponsor Chad Dubea of the Fallen Lineman Organization says many other power customers don't know what it takes to keep the lights on.
“No ma’am not at all. They think you flip the light switch, you got power. There’s a whole lot that goes on to get that done.”
“So, our linemen are out there,” said Gateway C.E.O. Curtis Francois. “They’re making that happen. They’re really important to our communities, right along with the policemen and the firemen.”
Electrical work can be just as dangerous. According to the statistics from the FLO, 45 workers lose their lives on the job each year.
“I just came from Shreveport Louisiana to visit Ricky Zimmerman,” said lineman Curtis Helms. “He’s a lineman from South Louisiana. He came in contact with electrical lines and lost both his arms. In a situation like that, the Fallen Lineman Organization will get in there and help the families with counseling and anything they’re going to encounter.”
Events like the Hurt Man Race let workers educate their families, as linemen race against the clock to conduct a mock rescue of a dummy representing an injured coworker. Workers also spend precious time with their kids at the event on the eve of Father’s Day.
“This is huge for linemen,” said Amy Dubea, also of the Fallen Linemen Organization. She is also Chad’s wife. “Most of these guys that are out here will go on call at 5 o’clock. So they will spend Father’s Day on storm [duty].”
Before the forecast storms rolled in, this other brand of first-responder families would take the sunny Saturday for themselves.
Learn more at www.FallenLIneman.org. Follow Curtis Helms and his work for fallen linemen, women and their families on Facebook. Search “You Might Be a Grunt”.