I Used to Cover Hurricanes, Now My Younger Brother is the One Who Makes It to the Hard Hit Areas

I’ve lived through two hurricanes and covered a few more.  When I lived in Tallahassee, a hurricane named Kate came through the area.  Kate was a Level 1 or Level 2 storm and came ashore about 50-miles away from Tallahassee  near Alligator Point.  Still it knocked down about every third tree in Tallahassee.  We were without power for ten days.  The TV station I worked for didn’t have a back-up generator so we used a portable generator to power editing stations and put together stories so we could provide coverage when we were back on the air.  Later, my wife and I moved to Ft. Myers and a small storm named Floyd came ashore near Ft. Myers.  Since we lived in a ground floor apartment, I was worried about a two foot storm surge that was projected.  It never materialized and the storm wasn’t as bad predicted.  Still clean-up took a while and Bethany and I decided we had enough of Florida and tropical storms and hurricanes.  We moved to Charlotte, NC where we discovered we could still feel the effects of those ocean born storms.  We were both happy to leave the coastal areas.  The last time I witnessed hurricane damage first hand was a couple of years ago when I was doing some free lance work for one of the local video production companies and they needed somebody to produce some videos six months after Katrina.  It still brings tears to my eyes to think about how some people along the coast and in New Orleans suffered and how bad it still looks in some areas.  I’m told the video we produced helped raise awareness of the utter devastation and the need for more help so many days AFTER the storms.

Now my little brother goes to the hurricane ravaged areas where he makes a difference right away.  Actually to call him my little brother is something of a misnomer since he’s got about 20 pounds on me and he’s a lot more solidly built than I am.  My brother Calvin is a lineman for a rural electric co-operative in Western Kentucky.  This past weekend during our huge family reunion in Western Kentucky, he told me he was on stand-by with his crew to go to where they were needed to help restore power lines.  This Tuesday morning he called and told me they were headed to Houma, LA.  He was told to bring chest waders.     This isn’t the first time Calvin has worked in areas hard hit by hurricanes.  He’s worked the coast area a number of times over the years after both big and small storms have hit.  Once he told his crew was busy trying to get one section of line back up and energized and that it had gotten dark.  One local told him to be careful walking around in the dark as the high water had caused a lot of rattlesnakes to be on the move and that those snakes were in a foul move.  That’s the kind of thing a person wants to hear as he or she is scrambling around in the dark.

When you live in the south especially in hot weather, you never quite appreciate what electricity does for you until you are left in the dark sweating bullets and wondering when the power will come back on.  So my younger brother is headed off to help people hard hit by storms start the process of getting their lives back together.  Some of those he helps will see him and his line crew face to face.  Others will simply see that the electricity will be back on after a few hours or few days.  I think it’s safe to say that people in those hard hit areas would much rather see electric crews than TV news crews.  I told Calvin to be careful and I’m keeping him in my thoughts and prayers.

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4 Comments on “I Used to Cover Hurricanes, Now My Younger Brother is the One Who Makes It to the Hard Hit Areas”

  1. Doug Johnson Says:

    Wherever there’s trouble, you’ll find a Larkins. Isn’t that on the family crest?

  2. joelarkins Says:

    Hey, we just wrapped up the big family reunion this past weekend and had an estimated 110 people show up. We figure anytime we can have that many family members together for that long and not have blood spilled in a gun fight, knife fight or fist fight then it was a good thing. And while “wherever there’s trouble, you’ll find a Larkins” is NOT on the family crest, it should be. I’ll share it with the rest of the clan.

  3. Carol McClain Says:

    Hi Joe,
    I have a very dear friend who lives near Daytona, she was telling me the other day , gator wranglers said they weren’t going to be accepting calls unless the Gator was 8 foot or longer in length , I was just dumbfounded , I don’t think I’m going to be going back to Florida anytime soon
    Carol .

  4. joelarkins Says:

    I guess they have to draw the line somewhere. I’m with you about staying away from Florida for a while. Thanks for checking in.

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