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HILCO crews help out after storm Special to the Ellis County Press

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ELLIS COUNTY - When severe December ice storms left many homes and businesses in North and East Texas without power, HILCO Electric Cooperative answered requests for assistance from sister Texas Cooperatives.

Several thousand cooperative members were left without power during these severe storms and repair crews from Bowie-Cass, Lamar and Panola-Harrison Electric Cooperatives worked around the clock to restore their downed lines. HILCO Electric Cooperative, headquartered in Itasca, responded to the requests for assistance by sending experienced line crews and several trucks to aid in the restoration efforts. 

Under the supervision of HILCO Overhead Superintendent Allen Howe, six HILCO linemen volunteered to assist Panola-Harrison Electric Cooperative with the massive damage left in the wake of a winter ice storm.

HILCO volunteers Jerry Baker, Tommy Cox, Johnny Huggins, John Prescott, Travis Sanders and Wade Yarbro joined other Cooperatives and outside contractors to help restore downed lines, broken utility poles and electric outages in a widespread area in Panola and Harrison Counties.

The following week, two more Texas Cooperatives asked for assistance in the hard hit north Texas area.

HILCO First-class Lineman B. J. Williams led a team, including Jerry Baker, John Houston, Johnny Huggins and John Prescott to assist Bowie-Cass Electric Co-op at Douglassville, near the Arkansas and Louisiana borders.

Lending support to Lamar Electric Co-op at Paris, Texas, near the Red River, were First Class Lineman Wade Yarbro and his team including Daniel Beam, Don Sanderlin, Travis Sanders and Ronnie Upchurch. A second crew, led by B. J. Williams, was called to assist Lamar EC again in January. 

'When we received the calls for help from our sister Texas Co-ops, we were ready to go within a few hours,' Howe said. 'After doing this sort of thing for several years, I can tell you there is nothing pleasant about it.

'But some of their members had been without power for four and five days—and when they finally had power again, the gratitude they expressed made it all worthwhile,' Howe said. 

Each of the General Mangers of Panola-Harrison Co-op, Lamar County Co-op and Bowie-Cass Co-op has expressed their sincere appreciation for the efforts of the HILCO crews.

According to Gerald Lemons, GM/CEO of HILCO EC, 'we were fortunate not to have experienced the full impact of the winter storms and I'm very proud of the great work our men did in helping the other Texas Co-ops. The Cooperative Spirit is something we all share - in good times and bad.'

Lemons added, 'Perhaps our time to request assistance will happen in the future. If so, I know Panola-Harrison, Lamar, and Bowie-Cass Co-ops will be here to help us in our time of need.'

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