While the money is good for a lineman, the work is hard, they miss out on family functions and holidays, and their families sacrifice right along with them. We at J.L. Matthews want to honor the entire home-based crew behind the lineman - wives, girlfriends, parents, children... anyone who loves a lineman. Tell us your story and we may contact you to feature it on our website and social media channels!
What's your relationship with your lineman?
I'm his wife.
Tell us about your lineman. How did you meet? Was he a lineman when you met him? How did he get into the industry? What makes him tick?
I was 17 the first time I met him at one of my high school football games. He was with my cousin and she introduced us! A year later he showed up at the drive-thru at Dairy Queen and asked me out and we've been together ever since..going on 23 years!! He had just got a job working for Arkansas Electric when we met. So he was just a ground hand and has grown into an amazing Line Foreman at North Arkansas Electric Cooperative. Gary is an all around great man and husband. He has always put his family first! He has also never met a stranger... a great people person!
Did anyone in your or his family serve as a lineman (Is he a first generation lineman or were others in his family a lineman?)
He is a 1st Generation Lineman. Our youngest son Lucas (15) wants to follow in his footsteps.
What are you most proud of about your guy working the way he does?
He takes pride in the job he does and makes sure it is done right and finished. This applies at work and at home as well.
Are there things you wish you could change about the job?
The dangers are the one thing I worry about the most... other than that, I love what he does!
How have your lives changed to accommodate the job? Do you have unique holiday traditions? Do you do anything special on the days your lineman is home?
We have been blessed to have him home every night with us. He has worked for the same cooperative for 20 years. Alone time with my lineman when he works 4-10's are always special!!
How do you manage the crazy schedule and calls that make your lineman drop everything?
We just go with the flow around our house! If he's on call we just don't make plans and spend the week at the house.
Does loving a lineman make YOUR life harder?
No! Having him in my life has made life the best! I wouldn't have it any other way!!
If you have children, do they look up to their lineman? Do they have hopes to follow in his footsteps?
We have 3. Matthew (20), Lucas (15), Allyson (11). They all love what their dad does. Matthew is working as an intern with him while he goes to school. Lucas wants to be a lineman!! Allyson loves riding in his bucket truck!
Are there any special ways you stay connected to your lineman while he is working for long periods of time?
During the weekdays we talk or send messages during break or lunch. When he does go in storm work we talk on the phone every night and send messages when we can.
What are some things customers or employers have done to show their appreciation?
The customers usually write a nice letter to the co-op, or call in and let them know what an amazing job they have done. He really works for a great Cooperative and they treat the guys well!
Tell your lineman's craziest storm/outage story
On an ice storm, he and a couple of his crew got sick the first day and had to work even though they had the stomach bug. For Katrina, the ice truck that was delivering ice had all the ice stolen before it got to them. They had to drink hot water.
What was the longest storm duty streak that your lineman worked?
What crazy experiences have you had on the home front while your lineman was on duty (house flooded, car broke down, etc.)?
Ice storm: I had no power for 2 weeks and had 3 kids to myself. He came home at dark and left at dark and all he did when he was at home was take a sponge bath and sleep.
What advice would you give someone who's thinking of loving a lineman?
Love them deeply, always kiss them goodbye. It's an adventure so hold in tight!