When is it officially celebrated?
by Gregg MacDonald, Executive Editor
There is no debate amongst anyone that lineworkers across our nation deserve appreciation for their dedication. Their jobs are difficult and often dangerous. Their willingness to brave the elements during storms and other weather events to ensure cooperative members can continue to power their homes with minimal interruption is certainly appreciated by all.
Come each April however, there is occasionally some debate on what date is officially Lineworker Appreciation Day.
Some say the date is set in stone, and that date is April 18.
Others say it is not a set date each year, but instead, it falls on the second Monday of April, whatever that date may be. This year, that date is April 10.
Here is some history and information about how this date came to be, how the debate came to be, and why it continues today.
Not long after 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, the 113th Congress of the United States passed a bill designating April 18th as National Lineman Appreciation Day to “recognize linemen, the profession of linemen, and contributions of these brave men and women who protect public safety.”
This bill became law in April 2013.
The April 18 date was chosen because journeyman lineworker Bill Bosch, a former lineworker for Nevada Energy who later worked in management at Northwest Lineman College, was at the forefront of petitioning Congress for the official recognition. Bill’s father, Cliff Bosch—also an accomplished lineworker—passed away on April 18, 1982, so his son proposed that date be recognized.
It was soon argued, however, that Easter could potentially interfere with the set date of April 18. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Easter will, in fact, fall on April 18 three times over the next 50 years; in the years 2049, 2055 and 2060.
It was also argued that the set April 18 date could also—and perhaps more likely—fall on a weekend.
It was further argued that in either scenario, Lineworker Appreciation Day either falling on Easter, or over a weekend, could possibly limit the ability of some cooperatives to show their official appreciation to their lineworkers on their official recognition date.
So, to avoid these potential issues, in December of 2014, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Board adopted a resolution recognizing the second Monday of each April as National Lineman Appreciation Day.
Today, some cooperatives continue to recognize the original April 18 date while others go by the NRECA resolution, designating the second Monday of April as the official date.
In either case, no one debates that the 120,000-plus lineworkers across our nation are deserving of appreciation, not only on one designated day, but all year round.
“It’s safe to say that without these highly skilled, highly trained, teamwork-driven individuals, none of us would enjoy the freedoms and conveniences of electricity here on the rural sides of The Eastern Shore,” says Choptank Electric Cooperative President and CEO Mike Malandro.
“These men and women possess an admirable internal fortitude and mission-oriented determination to keep the power flowing,” adds Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative President and CEO John C. Lee, Jr. “They work all hours of the day and night, in hazardous conditions, and away from their families. MEC’s lineworkers, as well as lineworkers from across the nation, deserve this special day of recognition.”
While still officially called Lineman Appreciation Day, many today refer to the event as Lineworker Appreciation Day to better recognize the estimated 6,100 female lineworkers nationwide. According to Linemen Central, the career rate for lineworkers, both men and women, is currently growing at a rate of 2.94% each year.