For Duke Energy linesman on 16-hour workdays, missing family is 'toughest part'

While a lot of us were forced to live without power after Hurricane Irma, many of the men and women busy trying to restore it were forced to be away from their families.

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. — While a lot of us lost power after Hurricane Irma, many of the men and women working overtime to restore it lost out on time with family.

For Duke Energy linesman James Jankowski, the past week since the storm has been one of sacrifice and little sleep.

Missing family is the “toughest part of the whole thing,” Jankowski said.

Working at least 16 hours a day has left little time for much else for Jankowski, including the celebration of his young daughter's birthday.

“We were planning a birthday party for my daughter Lacey, who just turned 10,” said Christina Jankowski, James’ wife. “I’m just hoping I can still give her that birthday party.”

The party was supposed to be last weekend. But Irma had other plans.

And while Jankowski has worked overtime and on assignments out of state before, his wife says the past week has been unlike anything they’ve ever experienced.

“It feels like he’s just gone,” Christina said. “We miss him and I just pray for all the lineman and everybody out there helping.”

The widespread power outages means Jankowski begins his day well before the sun rises and ends it well after it sets.

“Some people think it’s just flipping on a lightswitch and that’s all there is to it,” he said. “It’s not something we can rush.”

It’s work that weighs on everyone.

“I’m really worried about him because I don’t him to get shocked,” said Lacey, Jankowski’s young daughter.

Christina added: "I hope they restore power soon and he comes home."

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