Locals Treat Storm Workers To Free Lunch

Kristy Tallman

After an ice storm turned Sweet Home into a winter horrorland of icy roads, fallen trees and power lines, in came the cleanup trucks. The storm left thousands of people without power, stranded in their homes and unable to get out but thankfully it didn’t stop the repair crews.

Electricians, tree trimmers and cable/internet repair crews from across the state poured into Sweet Home this week in an effort to dig everyone out of one of its worst seen ice storms in years. Their presence was welcomed and residents were grateful to see them so quickly, so grateful in fact they set up tents at Thriftway to give the workers free meals and drinks.

Two local ladies, Kezia Brodie and Marissa Bartley, with the help of local community businesses were able to pull together lots of food to feed the storm workers. They reached out to Thriftway and asked permission to set up a tent and the rest just came with ease from restaurants and local business owners who stepped up to help the ladies set their plan to action according to Bartley.

Spoleto’s Pizza donated pizzas, Kim Ja Tai Food donated meals, Shari Melcher donated cookies and chili along with a vast number of other donations made by residents and businesses in an effort to show their appreciation. Several volunteers were also on hand to help the ladies serve up lunch.

Bartley said they had already fed nearly 1000 workers on day two. Also donating were Sugar City Brew offering free coffee or hot chocolate. A&W and Walker Heating and Air also made monetary donations.

“These guys have been working so hard to get the lights turned back on for everyone and we just wanted to make sure they knew how appreciative we are,” said Bartley. “None of us would be enjoying our power right now without them.”

One of the volunteers who also donated to the cause, Kellie Kem, whose husband David Kem, is a lineman for PGE said, “Many times the workers aren’t allowed to stop into gas stations and restaurants because they face such harassment about getting the lights back on. This is one way to make sure they get the warm meals they need when they’re working this hard.”

Bartley and Brodie didn’t want the men to not get something hot to eat, so on hand were hot pulled pork sandwiches, roast beef sandwiches, pizza, chili, chips, fresh fruits, granola bars, sweet treats and water.

“We really just appreciate them so much and want to give back,” said Bartley. “You gotta know, they work better when they eat, so let’s fill their bellies.”

Pacific Power, Consumer Power, Wright’s Tree Service (WTS) and Xfinity were on hand to enjoy the food. “This is awesome.” said Jason Schrepfer, foreman with WTS. “This community has really gone above and beyond to make us feel welcomed and appreciated. We can’t thank them enough, it’s amazing really.”

Tanner Parks, another foreman with WTS, said he too couldn’t believe all the community had done, “We don’t see this often, usually people are upset with us for taking too long. We really appreciate their patience.”

Bartley and Brodie were into day three at the time of this article and going strong. Most of the ice has melted and lights have been restored, things are slowly getting back to normal again in Sweet Home.