Hurricane Irma response: Second OPPD crew arrives in Florida

A second group of Omaha utility employees arrived in Florida today to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

Fifteen OPPD employees left various parts of their territory on Wednesday met up in Rockport, Mo., before making their way to Jacksonville, Fla.

According to a post on an OPPD website, they have been met a lot of support along the way.

"At one point, we were stopped due to construction, and a little girl held up a notebook with 'thank you' on it," Field Supervisor Tim Potts said.

The first OPPD group that left Nebraska for Florida said they were met with similar enthusiasm during their travels.

"All the way down, we're getting nothing but honks and thumbs up," said Chris Coniglio, field supervisor for the first group. "At the hotel (in Paducha), there was a lot of praise. 'God bless you people for doing this.' It's extremely gratifying."

And they were definitely not alone.

"A lot of line trucks on the highway," Coniglio said. "We even saw a three-man crew from Canada."

The second OPPD group was expected to arrive in Tampa, Fla., by midday Thursday before making their way to Jacksonville, Fla., on Friday. 

Travel has been slow, the OPPD post states, due to the amount and types of equipment in the convoy as well as the weather they have encountered along the way. Earlier this week, flooding had threatened to close routes from Atlanta to Tampa.

"It's been an experience," Coniglio said. "And it will be."

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