THE WORLD NEEDS IT
Aerial Electricians Clean Up Hurleyville
by John Conway
HURLEYVILLE, May 2022 – Don White lives in Oklahoma, but on several overcast and drizzly days in April, he could be found in a green reflective jacket picking up trash along Main Street in Hurleyville with two of his co-workers.
It was an act of kindness the three men did entirely on their own, simply because, as Mr. White put it, “the world needs it.”
For the past 18 years, Mr. White has been working for Air2, a Tennessee-based company that provides helicopter assisted utility construction and maintenance services for extra-high voltage (EHV) transmission lines throughout North America. He has performed the death defying work all over the country, he says, and for the past four years, whenever he is in a place with some time to spare, he gets his co-workers involved in some type of activity to leave the place better than it was.
“Too often, guys like us would stay in a small town or a city, and would get into fights or cause trouble, leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths about the company or our industry,” he said while picking up an empty soda bottle and depositing it in a trash bag. “I wanted to do the opposite, to leave people with a good feeling.”
From cleaning up parks, to repainting playground equipment, to picking up trash, Mr. White has spearheaded these tiny community improvement programs wherever he’s gone, and the practice is wholeheartedly endorsed now by the company’s executives.
In Hurleyville last month, he was joined by fellow electrician Rob Moore, a Florida resident and former military man who somewhat resembles a Hollywood movie star, and Kelton Porter, their helicopter pilot, who is from Alaska. Both men were quick to credit Mr. White with getting them involved.
“Don’s the guy who started it, and it seemed like a good thing to do while we’re grounded,” Mr. Moore said, relating that the crew can’t work on the high voltage lines when it is raining or when there are heavy winds. Mr. Moore said the men were staying in a motel in Monticello while working on a project in Roscoe for the Wisconsin based company, Michels, and the rain had interrupted their work that day. They were passing through Hurleyville and stopped at the Hurleyville General Store for coffee when Mr. White got the idea for his impromptu clean-up campaign.
Besides the trash, the three men washed windows in the Hurleyville General Store, prompting someone to remark that they had never seen them so clean, touched up the veteran’s monument at the Hurleyville Firehouse, and performed various other tasks around town. They returned several times over the next two weeks, whenever the weather prevented them from the helicopter work, and each time they took on a new project.
As it turned out, the Hurleyville work had an extra special meaning for Mr. White.
“I have a son who is autistic,” he said. “So, when I met and got talking with Denise (Lombardi) at the Hurleyville General Store, and she told me about The Center for Discovery and the great work they do, I knew I had to help out in some small way. Now, hopefully, I will have a resource that can help me as I care for my son in the years ahead.”