I ask the House of Representatives to join me in honoring an Iowan who has taken up the call to respond to the devastation brought by the derecho that hit Iowa and the Midwest last week. Hundreds of thousands of Iowans were left without power as the storm brought sustained winds of over 100 mph in many areas of our state, downing trees and crop fields, knocking down power lines, and damaging buildings and the electrical supply capacity across Iowa. I ask you to join me in honoring Luke Hartz, a senior journeyman lineman, who is one of the many individuals working around the clock to restore power and a sense of normalcy to affected Iowa families.
The shockwaves of not having power during a global pandemic cannot be overstated. Employees were left without a way to work from home, students could not complete distance learning, businesses had to close their doors, and fridges and freezers had to be emptied of food that went bad. Families that sustained significant damage to their homes had to find shelter in hotels, motels, and with friends or family members that still had power. It was a gut punch Iowans didn’t need after everything we’ve been through this year.
Luke and his fellow linemen across the State of Iowa have been working extra shifts and additional hours, leaving their families for days on end to help address the needs of others. Luke was in Long Island, New York earlier this month to help with the response effort to tropical storm Isaias. After helping New Yorkers, he came straight back to Iowa to assist in response to the derecho. He has consistently been working 14+ hour days for the past three weeks to help restore power to the hundreds of thousands of individuals impacted by these natural disasters, and he’s one of many doing that work. Lineman from around the Midwest have come to Iowa’s aid, and to them we are forever grateful.
One thing Luke regularly tells the members of his crew is, “I need you every day, not just today”. The scope of the damage is still being tabulated and these individuals are going to be pulling double and even triple shifts to serve their communities and state in this trying time. The repair work they’re undertaking would normally take months. Instead, they’re working to get us back on track within weeks.
Madam Speaker, Iowans take care of each other. When we see someone in need, we step up to make them whole. Luke is helping hundreds of thousands of our families and neighbors reconnect and rebuild. We are grateful to have hardworking Iowans like Luke and linemen around this state to get us up and running once again. Iowa has had more than our fair share of difficulties over the last 18 months, and now a storm that had rain and winds similar to a hurricane. But no matter what disaster has come our way, people like Luke have showed up to help us get through it. I couldn’t be prouder of him and his fellow linemen for their selfless and tireless work.
It is my honor to ask the House to join me in recognizing senior journeyman lineman Luke Hartz as our Iowan of the Week.