Operation Power Up turned on the lights for 3,500 homes. Now the first of its kind program is winding down. The News On 6â€™s Ashli Sims reports there's still help available. Operation Power Up has helped thousands, but before they can power down, they plan to get the last 1,300 homes powered up.
Robert Neil is spending his Christmas vacation away from teaching, out in the cold, climbing ladders and clipping wires. He heard about Operation Power Up from a student, but it was a tragedy that sparked his action.
"I read in the paper a day after that I think about a woman who fell in her garage an elderly woman. And she died in her garage because she couldn't get help and didn't have power. And that's what changed my mind. I decided I better go ahead and help," said electrician Robert Neil.
Helping people like Courtney Pyeattâ€™s 87-year-old grandmother, who was out of power for almost ten days.
"Oh it was pretty hard, because she's 87. And she couldn't cook or anything. So we had to bring her food. And you can't drive too much over here, so I had to walk," said Courtney Pyeatt.
Pyeattâ€™s grandmother thought the problem was fixed.
"An electrician finally came. Also PSO had to come out, because the pole was split in half. They had to go back there and fix it. So finally, they got it back on, but it was just tape," said Courtney Pyeatt.
Just tape on a wire, the weather head still broken and exposed a potential danger.
"To me that's criminal to do that to an elderly woman, who's disabled, bed-ridden, it's pretty disgusting," said Neil.
Neil is one of 96 electricians working with the city to get the lights back on. The amount of homes back on line is up to 3,500 and theyâ€™re stringing cables around the clock to restore power to the last 1,300.
"I worked Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and kept going. And people were very thankful. It was a lot of fun," said Neil.
Operation Power Up will continue until the end of the year. You can still call the Mayors Action Center at 596-2100 through 5:00 p.m. on Monday.
Watch the video: Power Up! Powers Down