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. So 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.
“Line life runs deep in my family’s blood,” says Emma Hernandez, a 3rd generation line wife. Her husband, Adam Hernandez, is a lineman, her father has been a lineman out of Local 104 in Houston, Texas for the past 38 years, and her grandfather is a retired lineman.
What are you most proud of about your lineman?
“Adam wasn’t always dealt an easy hand. School wasn't his strength and very few people had expressed belief in him throughout his life. However, Adam became a part of my family from middle school, and my Dad encouraged him to join the apprenticeship.”
After the birth of their son, Adam gave linework a chance. He started as a groundman and in February 2021, he graduated from the apprenticeship program and became a Journeyman Lineman. Emma is so proud of Adam’s passion for the trade and his joy of teaching and encouraging others who lack self-confidence. Adam has become an incredible father, worker, and friend through the program.
If a magic wand existed, what would Emma change about the job?
"I would make the job safer. I worry every day, every call out, every storm. It’s hard to trust not only him but every person on his crew. Everyone needs to return home safely to their family."
Emma talks about life on the homefront, the crazy storm duty schedule, and she shares her children’s thoughts about their lineman Dad.
“We have learned to roll with the punches, adjust, and be flexible. I have an incredible support group of friends that know it’s not easy being a line wife, and they are always ready to lend a hand. Adam and I have two children together, a daughter who’s 12 years old and a son who’s almost nine years old. My son thinks linemen are the coolest thing ever. He loves going to see Dad work anytime we can. He listens to all the 'I built that line' stories with eager ears.”
The craziest storm duty stories often come from line wives. Here’s what Emma had to say.
“During the winter storm that swept across Texas in 2021, our home reached 36 degrees, and we were without power for five days while Adam worked the storm recovery. It was nearly impossible for him to contact us, and we were blessed to have a neighbor who brought gas for our generator, helped cook food, and kept us sane.
2017 was the worst year with Hurricane Harvey, Irma, and Maria. Adam worked recovery from Hurricane Harvey and continued storm after storm, traveling from Texas to Louisiana, Georgia, and Florida.
During Hurricane Harvey, Adam was a groundsman who had just applied for the program, and he almost missed his interview due to the storm. He says that was one of the most humbling and crazy experiences; water was up to their necks, cars were underwater, and the storm destroyed so many homes in our city."
The community comes together to support lineman — what acts of appreciation have you experienced?
“During Hurricane Harvey, our community in Houston came together to support lineman during the long days of work. We received donations that we delivered to my husband's company: laundry soap, snacks, butt powder, razors, etc. In addition, families with power would come together to provide hot meals, wash clothing, and offer a clean place to sleep. The support for these men is incredible. It’s good to know that people care and are so compassionate in most places they go to. The community will take care of our family while we cannot.”
What advice would you give someone who's thinking of loving a lineman?
"The line life is an incredible journey. So love them deeply, don’t wear your emotions on your sleeve; this trade will provide more than a stable income for your family. This trade is family, pride, comfort, and so much more."