We have amazing people working for the City and the Public Utilities.

It is such a pleasure to work with people the caliber of which we have at the City of Sleepy Eye. I have mentioned in past columns that we have amazing people working for the City and the Public Utilities. I have two recent examples of what I am talking about.

The most recent involves the relief effort in the state of Florida. As you are all aware, on Sunday, Sept. 10, Hurricane Irma ripped through Florida in unprecedented fashion, causing catastrophic damage and widespread power outages. At peak, nearly 7 million customers were without power. Approximately 800,000 of those customers were in public power cities like Sleepy Eye, where the city owns the electric system. More than 1,000 crews from other public power cities, in 19 states, came to their aid. I am very proud to say that we have two linemen from Sleepy Eye who were part of this monumental effort to restore all the power. I got word by email from the Minnesota Municipal Power Association of the effort to put together crews to travel to Florida on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 7. By quitting time that day, all four linemen I spoke to expressed interest in going. (Our fifth was at home with a new baby.) Since we only have five linemen in total, we could only allow two to go to Florida. The next morning—Friday—we had our two signed up to go. On Saturday morning Jeff Meyer and Jose Saenz left for Rochester where they met up with crews from 15 other Minnesota municipal utilities. From there they all departed for Paducah, Ky. On Sunday they drove to Georgia and waited for the storm to clear so they could travel to the city of Kissimmee Fla., south of Orlando, where they would begin the task of restoring power. Kissimmee has roughly 72,000 customers and about 38,000 of them were without power. By Wednesday, just three days later, most were back on. On Thursday, they were reassigned to Lake Worth, along the east coast of Florida, south of West Palm Beach. By Monday, Sept. 18 power to Lake Worth was 100 percent restored. On Tuesday, our guys and most of the public power volunteers from Minnesota headed for home. I cannot say enough about their efforts and their willingness to travel halfway across the country to work long hard hours to help people they have never met.

The second example I want to mention occurred in late August—just prior to the first wedding reception at our new Event Center. I know this was a feature story in this paper a couple weeks ago, but I want to express how proud I was of our staff once again. Nearly a dozen city/utility/police employees and a couple council members, along with some spouses and friends (18 in total) showed up on Thursday and Friday evening to do whatever needed to be done (and that list was long) to make sure the wedding reception went off without a hitch. This was totally a volunteer effort which really highlights the selflessness of our people.

We have an amazing group of people who work for the City of Sleepy Eye. These are just a couple of recent examples, but they do the city proud every day.