Carrington lineman helps bring power to rural Haiti
Josh Hoffman, a lineman with Northern Plains Electric Cooperative, is returning today from Haiti. He is one of two North Dakota linemen who worked to help bring electricity to a rural section of the small, Caribbean nation.
Hoffman of Carrington and Jody Bruce, a lineman from Minot for Verendrye Electric Cooperative, spent the last two weeks working with other linemen from electric cooperatives around the country as part of a mission through the National Rural Electric Cooperate Association International Foundation.
Katie Ryan-Anderson, manager of member communications for Northern Plains Electric Cooperative, said Hoffman and Bruce installed poles and wire to help bring electricity to residences near an industrial park in the northern part of Haiti, near the town of Caracol. The international foundation paid for the transportation and lodging of the linemen who worked on the project, and the electric cooperative, where the linemen worked, paid for the linemen’s time.
This was Hoffman’s second time working with the international foundation on a rural electrification project in Haiti.
Hoffman and Bruce also met with Pamela White, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti on Thursday. The two men were scheduled to meet with Michael Martelly, the president of Haiti, but that meeting was canceled at the last minute due to security concerns.
“I did at least see him,” Hoffman said about the Haitian president. “More importantly, we met with U.S. Ambassador (Pamela) White, who is very important to this project and Haiti.”
Hoffman said White praised the linemen and others working on the project not only for the work they were doing, but for leaving their families and spending two weeks in less-than-ideal conditions.
“It was nice of her to say those things, but the work we do here is so rewarding that it’s worth it,” he said.
Hoffman said the temperatures were in the upper 90s every day with the heat index — a measurement of the air temperature and humidity — averaging in the mid-100s.
“There was a bucket truck donated (for us to use), but it was broke down most of the time,” Hoffman said. A lifting truck that lifts the power poles into place was supposed to be available, but that truck was also out of service. This meant the work crew had to set the power poles by hand using pike poles and had to climb the power poles by hand.
Hoffman said the time in Haiti was a great opportunity for him and the other linemen to train Haitians in their profession.
“It’s very rewarding and hard work but worth every second,” he said. “I would do it over and over again, well, as long as my body will let me.”
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org