A Word of Thanks
Following Restoration, Young Girl Drops United a Few Lines of Gratitude
As if a storm wasn’t bad enough, then the power went out.
And if there’s one thing that frightens 9-year-old Dora Ortiz, it’s darkness. When Oct. 13 storms rolled through Huckabay and caused an outage that made the lights go out, the fourth grader said she wanted her father, Juan, to fire up his backup generator immediately.
When the lights came back on less than two hours later, all Dora could feel was extreme relief that life had returned to normal. She was so thankful, she took the time to post the linemen and others at United a handwritten note of her gratitude (complete with pictures) in with her parents’ monthly bill payment.
“All I know is, I was worried,” Dora said. “I looked up at the sky. It was going to be a little sunny, then it started to get really dark. I was inside until the lights flashed out, and then I was getting so worried and I was scared. It was terrifying. My dad got out the flashlights that we used.”
Juan said that though he didn’t want his daughter to be frightened, he didn’t think that it was time to use the generator. Instead, he called United to report the outage and tried to console Dora and his other children.
“I called United right away, and they said they’d take care of it,” Juan said. “I went to get some flashlights and said, ‘Hold on, It will be OK. Don’t cry.’ She wanted me to put on one of the generators and run an extension cord into the house. I said, ‘Not this time. They will fix it soon.’”
Meanwhile, United First Class Lineman Brody Weems and Apprentice Nathan Karns were fighting frigid temperatures, trying to discover the cause of the outage that was affecting about 700 members, including the Ortiz family.
They discovered a broken jumper from the high winds and had the outage repaired in about an hour and a half, he said. The pair had no idea that nearby a 9-year-old was jumping for joy because power had been restored. Several weeks later, Dora’s letter arrived, and Weems said that her heartfelt words meant a lot to the linemen who had worked the outage.
“It’s a good feeling of course,” Weems said. “It’s nice to get the recognition that we are appreciated when we’re out in the environment—especially from the kids. It’s pretty cool. It’s always good when you can put a name and a face to a member’s special thanks. It’s nice to meet them. It puts more emphasis on the letter. For a little kid who’s scared of the dark, it’s a much bigger deal than just a normal outage.”
After the letter arrived, Weems drove to the Ortiz’s home and delivered a goody bag containing some fun United Cooperative Services promotional products, a few extra flashlights and a response letter from United CEO Cameron Smallwood.
“I was so happy and full of joy and that’s why I decided to write you a thank you letter to the entire group that fixed our power and all of you who run the company,” she said. “I wanted to say thanks to UCS. It’s the best company to fix our electricity.”