LIFE ON THE LINE - NICK CHOATE – J.L. Matthews Co., Inc.

LIFE ON THE LINE - NICK CHOATE

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!

 

Lineman's Name:

Nick Choate

What's your relationship to your lineman?

Wife

Tell us about your lineman. How did you meet? What makes them tick?

We met before he became a lineman. It was a blind date set up by my brother-in-law. It only took two dates and I knew that I was going to marry him.

Has anyone else in the family been a lineman?

His dad was a lineman.

What are you most proud of about your lineman?

How hard he works and he always puts us first. He sacrifices for our family every day and he never complains about it or the long hours or 2 am outages - he just does it for us.

Are there things you wish you could change about the job?

The danger and the long storm hours.

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?

If he is on call, we just don’t plan anything. We have had to change a holiday or wait until he was home to celebrate but for the most part, he is home for holidays. His current job allows him to be home a lot more.

How do you manage the crazy schedule and calls that make your lineman drop everything?

You have to be flexible and understanding. When a call comes in, he’s gotta go and go quickly. I help him in any way that I can to get ready (it usually means making him a cup of coffee) and I always send him with a kiss.

Does loving a lineman make YOUR life harder?

There’s nothing hard about loving him, what’s hard is thinking about the danger he faces every day and how quickly things could change. Not having him would be hard.

If you have children, do they look up to their lineman? Do they have hopes to follow in his footsteps?

They do look up to him. They respect him for his hard work. 

Are there any special ways you stay connected to your lineman while he is working for long periods of time?

Text or quick phone calls at any random moment he has free.

What are some things customers or employers have done to show their appreciation?

They bring him a cup of coffee during a storm outage. The last storm outage our community had, people reached out to me to let me know how much they appreciate him. They would ask what they could do for me and our children while he was working to get the power back on. That meant a lot to both of us. He needs to know his family is safe and taken care of as well.

Tell your lineman's craziest storm/outage story.

There was an outage call for lights flashing. As they came down the road, he could see the glow of the light. He found that there was a snake suspend over the top of the transformer and when the wind would blow, the snake would swing into the bolt on the arrester bracket and cause the lights to flash.

What was the longest storm duty streak that your lineman worked?

6 weeks for an ice storm. We had just had our fourth child about 3-months prior to the storm. It was challenging but I praise God that I had my mom and sisters close.

What crazy experiences have you had on the home front while your lineman was on duty (house flooded, car broke down, etc.)? What hasn’t happened on the home front while he was gone?

It seems that every time he is gone, everything breaks, freezes or needs repairs, including the car.

What advice would you give someone who's thinking of loving a lineman?

Be flexible. His schedule is crazy and unpredictable. Just when you think you can make plans, he gets a call and has to go. Kiss him goodbye and always send him with love and support. Don’t think about the things that could happen. And be prepared to hear about every pole and transformer you every see because he has a story for all of them!

April C.


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