A Warrenton man who works for Ameren Missouri was one of a crew of 60 from the St. Louis area helping to restore power to Superstorm Sandy victims on the East Coast.
Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record, which formed on Oct. 22, devastated parts of the northeast after coming up from the Caribbean leaving around $20 billion worth of damage in its wake.
Frank Stuermann, a longtime employee with Ameren, worked in New Jersey near the George Washington Bridge on the Hudson River.
“Down in the bay, boats were upside down,” Stuermann said. “It ripped the lowlands apart.”
Stuermann and his crew worked their way through Jersey suburbs for 14 days, restoring power to Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE & G) customers bit by bit.
“When we first got there, there were a lot without power,” he said. “We moved from one division to another, restoring power. Where we were at, it looked kind of like any other big storm in St. Louis. You’d see a pole down here, a pole down there. It wasn’t like after an ice storm we worked in Arkansas in the early ‘90s where there were poles down as far as you could see.”
Stuermann said where he worked some people had been without power for at least two weeks.
“People were so glad to see us, especially the elderly,” he said. “They brought us food and drinks and hugs. One lady was in tears. She said, ‘I’ve been without power for 14 days.’ They made us feel so welcome. It was a good feeling.”
PSE & G posted on its website as of Nov. 12 most of its customers have restored power.
“Recovering from this storm has been grueling, not only for our customers who endured many hardships without electricity and heat, but also for the men and women who have been working nonstop since Oct. 30,” PSE & G president and COO said in a press release on the company website.