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Life on the Line - T.J. Howard

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: T.J Howard

What's your relationship with your lineman?  Spouse

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?

We met online. He worked for a cable company. He then got a meter reader job at a local PUD. He worked for two years but was not able to get a spot. So he went to NLC and then started traveling for 3 years. He has also been in the national guard for 18 years, with 3 tours to Iraq. He is my best friend and soulmate.


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's the first generation.


What are you most proud of about your guy working the way he does?

He has a huge heart and always helps others before himself.



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

Pay them the same rate at home as they get for traveling.


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?

I had to learn how to do yard work, small car maintenance and house repairs. When he’s home we just spend every moment together. We love to fish and hunt and be outdoors


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

It could be worse and he could be deployed, where there is no cell phones or FaceTime.

 

Does loving a lineman make YOUR life harder? 

No, it makes my life that much better. Loving him is easy, not having him home is the hard part.


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

Our 18 yr old Hunter is a twin, he wants to go to line school.


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

We text, I send tons of pics and send him care packages.


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

During Hurricane Irma, people came up to him to thank him. They had drinks and food brought to them.


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

Hurricane Irma was almost 2 months.


What crazy experiences have you had on the home front while your lineman was on duty (house flooded, car broke down, etc.)?

Car breakdowns, neighbors dog broke they our fence and I had to figure out how to fix it. Our 5 year old had a tonsillectomy while he was gone.



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

Don’t cause arguments just because you miss him. Make sure his head stays clear when he’s on the line

Laurel H.

 





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