Iowans head east to deal with storm's aftermath

Crews from Alliant are no strangers to severe weather damage

CEDAR RAPIDS - On Sunday morning, about 70 Alliant workers from nine Iowa towns shipped off to the east coast.

The employees are going to help handle the fallout of Hurricane Sandy.  They received a call for mutual aid on Saturday and had just 24 hours to prepare.

They'll drive a little more than 1,000 miles in about two days with an overnight stop in Ohio.  Most of the crew members from the Cedar Rapids Alliant Operation Center said they've never been a part of a mobilization on this scale.

"I've been here eighteen years and I've never gone to an event like this," said manager, Jack Marovets.  "We'll probably work from the outside and wait for the storm to dissipate then start to move in."

The short notice left these workers with little time to prepare for a trip that could last 5 days or 2 weeks.

"The outages are going to be huge out there," said Gary Henry, a Line Mechanic Foreman.  "So getting people's power restored is going to be important."

Few team members say they've worked through hurricane damage, but living in Iowa, they're familiar with severe weather.

"We don't get hurricanes here, but we get big winter storms and ice storms," said Supervisor, Joe White.  "These guys know how to act how to work safely and in an environment like that they'll do just fine."

The Cedar Rapids crew of about fifteen will meet up with other Alliant teams from 8 other Iowa towns including Lisbon, Dubuque, and Ames.

So while most people take shelter from the oncoming storm, about 70 Iowans will be driving straight for it.

"I imagine just like we would want help," said Henry, "If they don't have electricity, they're going to be happy to see Cedar Rapids, Iowa."

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