Helping in Houma: Rebuilding effort highlights the goodness of humanity

SOS line crews set a new pole along a lateral in LAFOURCHE Parish, La.

Bill Perry is a long-time supporter of POWERGRID International as a public relations representative for the utility industry. After Hurricane Ida hit, he traveled to Houma, Louisiana to meet line crews, residents and tour the damage.

Perry said he has been working alongside Support Operations Services (SOS), a provider of electric and gas crews and logistical support for emergency power restoration. SOS is a subsidiary of MasTec, and SOS SVP of Operations Toby Mickalson arranged to have a semitrailer of food and supplies driven from one of his offices in Mesa, Ariz., to Houma and Golden Meadows, La., to help those in need here. Pitching in to help were partners Liberty Line Builders, P&G Power and SOS’s sister companies Intren and MasTec Utility Services Group.

While SOS and Toby were arranging the truck shipment, line crews from SOS, Liberty Line Builders and SOS’s sister companies Intren and MasTec Utility Services Group began a fundraising campaign. P&G Power matched the funds raised by these groups to add to the effort because they, too, have been shown such kindness by the people of southeast Louisiana.

Executives from P&G Power matched the line workers’ donation and presented a check for $100,000 to two disaster relief organizations called BStrong Foundation and Global Empowerment Mission.

The truck packed with food and supplies arrived last week and delivered its load to First Baptist Church of Golden Meadow and the Terrebonne Churches United Food Bank

“Within five minutes of our arrival in Houma just after Ida ended, a family from the area offered us food,” Mickalson said. “They suffered through the storm and didn’t have power, but they were here trying to make sure we were taken care of. And families continue to do that every day for our crews. We wanted to do something beyond line construction and return their generosity, so we organized the truck shipment.”

“We bought everything from Costco in Arizona because we didn’t want to disrupt the local supply chain for people in Louisiana,” added Mickalson.

Many of these folks told Perry that they will need help in the weeks and months ahead. Many people need washing machines and dryers for clothes. Donations of kitty litter are also helpful because it absorbs odors and moisture from appliances.

Roofers, electricians, tree trimmers and carpenters are just some of the trades people from around the country who could help the people in and near Houma rebuild their lives and homes.

Scroll through the photos below to see the work being done by SOS and partners. Photos are courtesy of Bill Perry.

Southeast Louisiana resident Amy and her daughter Hadley hold a few of the many meals they and other families made and brought each day to an equipment yard to thank the SOS crews for restoring power across Houma, La.
Pastor Mathew Chouest and his wife Bernadette stand in a gymnasium at the First Baptist Church in Golden Meadow, La., the couple received donated supplies on September 21, 2021, from a semitrailer SOS and its partners coordinated and paid for.
Entergy PR team members interview SOS Senior Vice President Toby Mickalson outside the First Baptist Church in Golden Meadow for a video about his team’s charitable donation to Houma residents.
A semitrailer with donated supplies from SOS and its partners arrives from Mesa, Arizona, at the First Baptist Church in Golden Meadow on Sep. 21, 2021.
Dozens of pallets of donated flour, detergent, toothpaste, batteries and more for the First Baptist Church in Golden Meadow, La.
Windblown power poles lean away from a home with substantial roof damage in Terrebonne Parish, La.
A working boat near Terrebonne Parish with its stern still afloat in the Intercoastal Waterway, pushed ashore by the force of Hurricane Ida’s winds and storm surge.
A National Guardsman pulls the first of many pallets of donated supplies from SOS into the warehouse at the Terrebonne Churches United Food Bank on September 21, 2021.
SOS line crews set a new pole along a lateral in LAFOURCHE Parish, La.
SOS and its partners at the First Baptist Church of Golden Meadow, LAFOURCHE Parish, La. Top L to R: Toby Mickalson, SVP of Operations for SOS; Matt Turk, COO of Intren. Bottom Row L to R: Bernadette Chouest, wife of Matthew Chouest and volunteer at First Baptist Church; Pastor Matthew Chouest, First Baptist Church; Rick Gray, vp for MasTec; Glenn Travis, vp for MasTec; Zach McGuire, group president of MasTec Advanced Technologies; Jeffrey Schmidt, evp of MasTec North America; Sherina Edwards, ceo and president of Intren; Keith Wilder, vp at P&G Power; John Gallagher, president of P&G Power.
SOS check presentation at Terrebonne Churches United Food Bank in Houma, LA. The photo of the check presentation at the Terrebonne Churches United Food Bank on Sep. 21, 2021, shows: (L to R) Toby Mickalson, svp of operations for SOS, John Gallagher, president of P&G Power Co., Yovanka Daniel, vp of customer service for Entergy Louisiana, Zach McGuire, group president for MasTec, Mary Fay Legnon, customer service manager for Entergy Bayou Region.
Southeast Louisiana family providing meals for SOS linemen. L to R: Chris Aston, director of sales for Houma, La.-based Cajun Cutters, LLC, his daughter, Ali; wife, Suzanne; son, Beckett; and, mother-in-law, Dee take time out for a photo at an SOS equipment yard with the meals they helped prepare for line crews restoring power in Southeast Louisiana.
SOS staging facility for Hurricane Ida Baton Rouge LA.
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Jennifer Runyon is a Content Director at Clarion Energy, writing, editing and posting content on POWERGRID International and planning conference sessions for DISTRIBUTECH's live and virtual events. She as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH International. You can reach her at Jennifer.Runyon@ClarionEvents.com.

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