On April 13, this year, we celebrate Missouri Lineworker Appreciation Day, honoring the critical work performed by electrical crews. Today, as millions of Missourians are at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, now – more than ever, the work of our linemen and linewoman keeping our communities connected and powered is vital.

Missouri’s electric lineworkers do a difficult and often dangerous job handling thousands of volts of electricity high atop power lines. On a routine day, this requires special training and skill. It’s also a job they must perform safely in all kinds of weather conditions, at any hour of the day or night. And today, maintaining social distancing and practicing safe habits, our Missouri lineworkers are to be commended.

Every day, in addition to their regular daily work of installing and repairing our power connections, lineworkers also are part of the crucial community of first responders. Just like police, firefighters, and emergency medical staff, a lineworkers job is to head toward trouble when it strikes, to make things safe for other first responders, and keep our electricity flowing. Our recovery from common weather‐related emergencies and larger disasters would be difficult without their fearless commitment. 

The part that municipal utility lineworkers play in providing reliable electricity for our communities is more important than ever. Today, as millions of Missouri workers telecommute, conduct online meetings and otherwise rely on electricity to get the job done during the coronavirus pandemic, we owe these professionals a debt of gratitude.

Hundreds of lineworkers across the state are on MPUA member electric crews, responsible for maintaining power lines. Their skill and dedication is a vital part of how our community stays connected, employed, educated, and safe during this uncertain time. Your local community-owned, non‐profit utility is able to serve the community with reliable, safe, and affordable electricity to homes and businesses. 

So, next time you see a lineworker, give them a salute. These hometown heroes put their lives on the line every day, and they deserve our recognition and thanks. 

Ewell Lawson is the vice president of government and external affairs for the Missouri Public Utility Alliance, an association representing more than 120 community-owned utilities across the state.