Three Austin Men Return From Helping Out East

Posted at: 11/16/2012 6:47 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- Many in our area have been venturing out east, to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and Friday afternoon, three from Austin rolled back into town.

After a total of roughly 2,500 miles on the road, the three men from Austin Utilities are back, and ready for a nap. "We roughed it," laughed Bill Bumgarner. They left for New York two weeks ago, right after Hurricane Sandy tore through the east coast. "TV doesn't do it justice it was very sad, very sad what these people are going through," said Patrick Donovan.

"I mean you’re talking thousands, of thousands of homes flooded," said Bumgarner. When they got there, it was straight to work. "They'd given us a few different jobs and the guys would just be like, ok you go this way, you go this way," said Bumgarner

The three were mainly restoring power, and just doing whatever else they could. "It was very, very overwhelming, you know, you just got to sit back and take your time," said Donovan.

Though there were times it seemed to be too much, Donovan got some words of encouragement from a fellow Minnesotan out there helping. It was on Veterans Day. "I said were you a Vietnam vet? I went over to him and shook his hand and I said, how was this compared to that? and he said, 'this is a cake walk,' so after that I didn't feel too bad," smiled Donovan.

What made it even easier, was seeing the look on everyone's faces after they'd just restored power. "They are there cheering, 'Thank you so much!' and that makes you feel pretty good," said Bumgarner.

"They were very happy that we were there, and they were very nice to us," said Donovan. Though the three are happy to have helped, they still wish there was more they could do. "You still feel for the people that are there, they have a long road of recovery ahead of them," said Donovan.

As we said, many others from southern Minnesota were out there helping as well. One Alliant crew member from  Albert Lea is returning Friday night. We will be meeting with him as well, on Monday.