BISMARCK, N.D. — A team of expert technical specialists from the Tennessee Valley Authority, TVA, is in North Dakota working with federal, state and local officials on the recovery from the January 20-25 ice storms.
The TVA was one of the most ambitious projects of President Roosevelt and the “New Deal.” It is a name that conjures up the American dream to harness the potential electrical power of the Tennessee River in the Appalachian Mountain region for rural electrification. Hard working people brought the dream to reality and this public works project helped turn around the Great Depression.
North Dakota is a beneficiary of this legacy, and is presently the temporary home for a select cadre of TVA’s retiree group, the Bicentennial Volunteers. Cadre Team Lead and Coordinator, Don Collette, speaking for his group said, “We’re happy to be in a position to assist FEMA and the State of North Dakota as they recover from the January ice storms. The team truly enjoyed our past North Dakota experience, when we worked with the State Department of Emergency Services to conduct preliminary damage assessments in February.”
The storms caused extensive damage to the State Rural Electric Cooperative electrical power grid, and the approval of Governor Hoeven’s request for a major Presidential Disaster Declaration resulted in the Federal Emergency Management Agency mission assigning this cadre of TVA retirees to North Dakota. Their mission is to go into the field, inspect the damage to the rural electric transmission line system, and write up the costs of that damage. They have the experience and subject matter expertise to do this task.
Federal Coordinating Officer, FCO Willie G. Nunn, remarked, “This is a national group that is much sought after because of their extensive knowledge of electrical grid operation and repair, and it is not the first time FEMA has been able to use this cadre of retirees in North Dakota.”
The group of technical specialists has spent their professional lives in the delivery of high voltage electricity to the rural areas of the national infrastructure power grid and may be coming to your community. The work of the retiree group in North Dakota continues the TVA core mission; to provide electricity to rural areas in the most economical manner as possible.
“We are pleased to have the expertise of this cadre in the state,” said Greg Wilz, State Director of Homeland Security. “I know with their assistance, we will move through the recovery process quickly and efficiently.”