Heading out to help

Heading out to help … GRDA Police Captain Casey King (second from right) speaks with GRDA’s Nathan Willis while GRDA officers (Lynn Hershberger, Alan Davis, Jeremy Cantrell and Billy Blackwell) look on. All six GRDA employees were preparing to leave for North Carolina to provide water rescue assistance in the wake of Hurricane Florence. All six were part of a larger Mayes County contingent that also included Mayes County Emergency Management, Pryor Fire Department and Locust Grove Fire Department (where Willis is a volunteer). The group also traveled with members of the Quapaw Tribe Fire/EMS team.

When five Grand River Dam Authority Police Officers headed to North Carolina last Friday to assist with hurricane recovery efforts, they carried on a mutual aid and disaster recovery tradition that has been in place at GRDA for quite some time.

Traveling as part of a larger team that also included personnel from Mayes County Emergency Management, Pryor Fire Department, Locust Grove Fire Department and the Quapaw Tribe Fire/EMS, the officers deployed to some of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Florence. Along with thousands of other emergency personnel, they are there to assist with water rescues and evacuations necessitated by the extreme rainfall amounts carried through by Florence. After two days of travel, the ten vehicle convoy, carrying 22 responders, arrived at the staging area in Raleigh, North Carolina, on September 16. Soon after, they were putting their swiftwater rescue training to work in Columbus County, about two hours south of Raleigh. They will likely be in the area for quite some time.

Just last year, a Mayes County contingent, including GRDA personnel, performed similar duties in Houston, Texas, following Hurricane Harvey. Also last year, GRDA Linemen traveled to Lakeland, Florida, as part of a nationwide mutual aid effort, to restore electricity to areas hit hard by Hurricane Irma. In previous years, GRDA has also provided assistance following Hurricane Matthew (Florida) and Hurricane Rita (Louisiana). In fact, Oklahomans from many different agencies have answered the call in recent years to help neighboring states following natural disasters.

While hurricanes are not something you normally associate with Oklahoma, there are plenty of Oklahomans with hurricane recovery experience.

GRDA is proud to be a part of that Oklahoma tradition and mutual aid efforts, alongside other agencies.

Headquartered in Vinita, GRDA is Oklahoma’s state-owned electric utility; fully funded by revenues from electric and water sales instead of taxes. Each day, GRDA strives to be an “Oklahoma agency of excellence” by focusing on the 5 E’s: electricity, economic development, environmental stewardship, employees and efficiency.