Electrical ‘Heroes’ Respond to Derecho

A “derecho” is a hurricane-strength storm that produces damaging, straight-line winds and may come without warning. On Monday, August 10th, a 75-mile-wide derecho hit Iowa unexpectedly, with sustained winds clocked at 140 miles-per-hour for a whopping 40 minutes. It decimated the area’s electrical infrastructure, countless homes, apartment buildings, and businesses, and the state has lost a staggering 40% of its crops. Ten days later, thousands are still without power, refrigeration, shelter, and medication resulting in a tremendous humanitarian concern. Tree services, electricians, and lineworkers from all over the country are now in the city of Cedar Rapids, working around the clock to remove dangerous obstacles and restore power. Midwest electric supply distributors, including Crescent Electric Supply Company based in East Dubuque, Illinois, are working hard to procure the appropriate and adequate quantities of supplies needed to keep these electricians focused on their very important work—but first and foremost, they’re stabilizing and ensuring the well-being of their very own employees.

“Family First,” stated Joe McDermott on a conference call just shortly after the crippling storm hit the Cedar Rapids and four other nearby branches. Nate Johnston reported back the next morning, “I drove to every team members’ homes to check on them and assess their damage.” Teams from Crescent’s headquarters in East Dubuque immediately traveled to Cedar Rapids, many of them still without power in their own homes, to help. Some team members went with chainsaws to begin cleaning up, others collected supplies such as gasoline, roof tarps, ice, and food to deliver to homes and nearby branch locations that had been affected. Running on generators, and powered by a strong support team across the country, every single affected branch continued to serve customers through the weekend who were in need of products to begin the estimated months-long process to restore public and private power.

“We’re leveraging our strategic supplier relationships and our nationwide distribution strategy to ensure adequate supplies are available across Iowa,” stated Jeff Buxton, Vice President of Supply Chain. “The demand is high, and because of the extent of the damage, it won’t let up any time soon.”

Crescent’s marketing team is working to build care packages for many lineworkers and electricians who have been called to Iowa to help.

“Every team member has had a role to play in the relief effort,” stated CEO, Scott Teerlinck. “I continue to be amazed at how everyone is putting our ‘One Team – One Crescent’ mindset into action to support our associates, their families and our customers.”

In the wake of COVID, the country has recently referred to electrical industry professionals and tradespeople as “essential.” CESCO even celebrated its “Electrical Heroes” for an entire month last spring. “The phrase couldn’t ring truer today. Not only are they STILL essential. They’re our heroes, and we thank them.”

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