This morning as I got onto the highway, I came upon a convoy of electric trucks - big yellow work trucks filled with men from Pike Electric Company who have come all the way from North Carolina to help get the people of Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Sand Springs and other surrounding communities back to the land of electricity and light. It was a sight to see. They were traveling a bit slower than the speed limit, so I was passing them. There were 22 trucks and still more ahead of them as I turned off on my exit. Like I said, it was truly impressive to see.
As I passed these trucks ... if the driver happened to look my direction, I found myself waving and mouthing the words "Thank You". These people, and many others from other states, have truly been a blessing, working around the clock to restore power to homes, to businesses, to schools and churches. It's been a long week for many people and there are still many who are without power.
The power of nature is truly amazing. Last year we dealt with drought in the summer, causing grass fires and 10 inches of snow in a short amount of time in the winter. This seems to be our year of rain. At the beginning of summer the rain created flooding and now, with the freezing temperatures of winter, it has created ice, causing trees to bend and snap and powerlines to pop and fail. While the roads themselves, thankfully, did not freeze and ice over, traveling has been made difficult - to put it mildly.
Streetlights and stoplights were empty and useless. Neighborhoods were quiet and still - houses in shadows of darkness. Shopping center parking lots were empty. Lines were long at the gas stations that did manage to have power. Several hospitals had to go to cancel surgeries due to having to go on back-up generators.
Yet there is light, both now and at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Our amazing police, fire, and paramedic personnel have stepped up to the challenges presented - working tiressly to care for our cities and our people. Our electric company, joined by those from surrounding states are continuing to work to bring electricity back to those without. Each day, power is being gradually restored. Stores and businesses are beginning to re-open, people have been (for the most part) polite and understand of delays. Friends and families with power and heat have been sharing with those that do/did not.
It has been a time of community. And even though it has been a time of crisis and frustration, it has also been a time to be grateful for the things that we do have.
I am grateful for family and friends who have checked on me to make certain all is well. I am thankful that each morning I wake and am able to put my feet on the floor, look in the mirror and greet the day. I appreciate the fact that I have a roof over my head, food in my pantry, and a job to make that possible.
Most of all, I commend all of the men and women who have traveled from near and far, as well as their families back home, who have responded during this holiday season and come to the aid of so many people in the dark.
This Broken Arrow resident truly appreciates it.