Dedicated to his job, Wolfe Co. lineworker sharing his story to keep others safe

The job is also essential in keeping the lights on for millions of Americans.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 5:25 PM EST
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CAMPTON, Ky. (WKYT) -The work of an electrical lineworker is one of the top ten most dangerous jobs in the U.S.

The job is also essential in keeping the lights on for millions of Americans.

No one knows that more than a Wolfe County man who, in 2021, was working on getting the lights back on after an ice storm when he suffered a devastating injury.

Scott Spencer is sharing his remarkable comeback and hoping it can be a learning lesson for fellow linemen this winter.

They are the lines and poles that keep the power running.

You often see them just off the road, others harder to spot tucked off the beaten path.

In Wolfe County, chances are veteran lineworker Scott Spencer, with Licking Valley RECC, personally knows just about every pole and wire in his county.

“I do all the new meter installations, any security light outage and any trouble like outages, tree on the line stuff like that. That’s what I do through the day,” said Scott Spencer.

The work and hours are often dangerous and not easy.

Spencer knew what he signed up for when he joined Licking Valley 21 years ago.

The job that has him carrying around a ton of gear and shimmying up poles became something he loved to do.

“When you go out of a night, and you see the lights come back on when you go to the substation, or you go to the breaker, and you flip that switch, and you see the lights come on all the way down the road that you have been working on, yes its very rewarding,” said Spencer.

He admits scenes like this one from February of 2021 are not ideal, back-to-back ice storms that caused widespread power outages and had Spencer and other crews working around the clock.

“The first two days, you are fighting a losing battle in an ice storm; even though you are getting lines up, lights are coming on, there is just as many going out as there is coming back on,” said Spencer.

Linemen have a series of checks and balances before heading up the pole.

One of them checks the base of the pole to ensure it’s stable.

On February 23, Spencer was dispatched out to what he thought was another routine icy call.

“I’m stretched out on the pole reaching for the grip, and I couldn’t hardly reach it; I liked 3 to 4 inches of being able to hook my hook into the grip on my line, said Spencer.

Spencer didn’t know that the pole he was a top was rotten below ground, and while 35 feet in the air, it snapped.

“I’m trying to get my safety off so I can jump away from the pole because I didn’t want to land on the pole,” said Spencer.

Just before impact, he was able to push off, sparing his torso.

“I’m wiggling toes in my shoes, I’m trying to move my legs, and I don’t think my back is broke or anything like that cause I can still feel everything,” said Spencer.

Spencer was airlifted from the scene to U.K. Medical Center. He shattered his right shoulder, breaking the ball off his humerus. He had a compound fracture in his left arm and cartilage broken in his nose.

“I pretty much went through every machine at U.K. that night,” said Spencer.

He spent three days in the hospital with more surgeries to come.

Doctors told him it would be a year before he could return to work, but Spencer returned in just six months.

“I’m pretty hard-headed, pretty stubborn, set in my ways, I enjoy work,” said Spencer.

Spencer’s story was featured in the October issue of Kentucky Living magazine.

He says while he never knows what mother nature has in store, he hopes that this winter, sharing his story might be something another fellow lineman could learn from.

“With any aspect of it, if it makes them take an extra minute think about it to be safe out here working, it’s all worth it,” said Spencer.

Scott Spencer credits his family, a lot of prayers, and the crew he was working with that day in helping in his recovery.