Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A helping hand headed to New Jersey. That’s what utility workers in New Jersey requested after Superstorm Sandy swept through their area.
Now, as Gigi Barnett explains, Verizon is answering the call with dozens of volunteer technicians.
Just after the break of day, dozens of utility trucks packed the Hollywood Casino parking lot in Perryville. The trucks belong to Verizon. The men and women are volunteer technicians on a three-week mission to bring the power back to Sandy-stricken New Jersey.
“Communication is absolutely so critical, especially in times like this in response to an emergency disaster that has happened up in New Jersey,” said Sheila Ketterer, Verizon Director of Operations.
Superstorm Sandy wiped out power lines, downed communication networks and left neighbors in the dark for weeks.
Will Aguilar volunteered because he has family in the area.
“That whole area has been decimated. I spoke with family members and they’ve lost power, phone, gas… It’s just a horrible situation up there,” Aguilar said.
Verizon says it’s answering the call for help now because it had to make sure customers in this area had power first.
“We took care of the Eastern Shore, where we had a ton of flooding. And also out in western Maryland, where we had basically blizzard conditions,” Ketterer said.
After a short briefing, all roads now lead to New Jersey for this crew.
“It feels good to actually do something that can help a lot of people in the region,” Aguilar said. “I’m going to try to do what I can to help out.”
Verizon says it will send four groups of volunteer technicians who know how to build complete communications systems from the ground up. Altogether, the company is sending at least 80 trucks.
More than 100 Verizon technicians volunteered for the job.