Local 'line wives' collect donations for spouses in Florida

'He feels good knowing he can help'

They call themselves "line wives." The significant others of "linemen," or electrical repair workers, who do their job high atop utility polls. Those individuals are often called away for 16-hour shifts for weeks at a time following damaging storms.

Such is the case for Keith Snyder, an Exeter Township man who works for PECO. His wife, Sarah Rayel, is rallying line wives and others to put together care packages to send to linemen currently hard at work in Florida and the surrounding hurricane-damaged territory.

"We all appreciate the EMTs and the policemen and the firefighters, but I don't think they think of people in the background," Rayel said. "He feels good knowing he can help."

Snyder and nearly 200 other PECO employees are trying to restore power in the Sunshine State, but it's no easy fix.

"Anywhere from eight to 16 hours a day, and he is up on the polls fixing power lines, people that have power outages, underground, above ground," Rayel explained.

With Florida and the Southeast experiencing near historic power loss, Snyder and other workers could face their toughest test yet. It's in times like these that "line wives" pull together.

"So ya know, I say mine are in Fort Myers, right next to the airport, and they open up their homes, they cook home-cooked meals. They are willing to do the laundry for them," Rayel explained.

Rayel, along with "line wives" from across the country, are asking for small donations to put in care packages to get the linemen through long stretches in cramped quarters and treacherous post-hurricane conditions.

"When I asked him personally, him and his crew, what he'd want?" she said. "[He said] sunflower seeds, beef jerky, Gatorade."

If you would like to donate items to help local linemen working in Florida, you can email Sarah at

PECO and its parent company, Exelon, sent more than 1,800 employees and contractors to areas impacted by Hurricane Irma.

Ohio-based FirstEnergy dispatched more than 900 people to the region from its 10 utilities, including Berks County-based Met-Ed.

They are among more than 21,500 workers, representing companies in 30 states, who are working around the clock to restore electricity to the millions of people who lost it during Hurricane Irma.

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