“I’m going to miss the people. When you spend more time with the people you work with than your own family, they become like family,” Lee McNall said when asked what he would miss the most after retiring from LaGrange County REMC.
McNall clocked out for the last time on Jan. 7, after a 32-year career, 26 of those as a journeyman lineman. He started as a meter reader for a couple of years before he started linemen school. Equipment has changed and processes have changed but the satisfaction of getting the job done, whether its stringing new line or getting members’ power restored, doesn’t change. “Some of the things we’re able to do, there’s not too many people who can do those things,” McNall added.
There’s been highs and lows, just like with any career. Being “on call” (when crew members are expected to report to work, if needed) is something that McNall was glad leave behind. “Getting a call at 3 a.m. isn’t usually good news. Outages don’t normally happen on a bright sunny day.” He is very appreciative of fellow journeyman linemen, Chris, Nate and Mike who shared time in covering his and Gerald Young’s “on call” the last couple of months.
With the extra time on his hands, McNall will volunteer with “Sleep in Heavenly Peace.” SHP has a LaGrange County chapter that makes beds for children in the area who don’t have them. The organization produces and distributes about 15 beds a month just in LaGrange County.
Lee and his wife, Linda, have two children — Lindsay (Rich) Swanson and Justin (Melissa) McNall, along with five grandchildren. McNall thoroughly enjoys attending his grandkids’ sporting events. With retirement, he’ll be able to attend even more. “I know when three-fourths of the guys I work with are younger than my kids, it’s time to move on,” McNall joked.
Gerald Young began his career on the line crew in 1986. Along with McNall, he also hung up his hard hat and gloves on Jan. 7, 35 years later. Young’s favorite part of being a lineman was being able to get members’ power restored. He enjoyed doing service work the most, including general hookups, installing security lights and restoring outages.
Young will also enjoy not receiving the 3 a.m. wake up call in the middle of the night, but did enjoy helping out other co-ops when major outages occurred. He recalled one memorable ice storm that he worked 30 hours straight, only to travel to Steuben County to help in Steuben County REMC’s outage restoration efforts after only a couple hours of rest.
Young will also miss the people he worked with, but is grateful he won’t have to miss Thanksgiving or Christmas get-togethers because of being on call. “I’m going to take it easy for a little while and then go from there,” Young said when asked what his immediate retirement plans were. His farm will keep him busy and he’s looking forward to traveling to Mexico and out West.
One of his goals was to leave the co-op without serious injury, something some others in the industry haven’t been able to achieve. He hopes for the same health and safety for his fellow crew members.
Growing up, he was referred to as Robert Young’s son, since his dad was well known in the county. “There is nothing wrong with being Robert Young’s son, but I was able to make my own mark. I hope people think that when I fixed something, it was fixed right,” Young noted.
Young and his wife, Dalonda, have two children, Ethan Young and Amy (Josh) Atwood, and live in Wolcottville. He enjoys farming, hunting and shooting sporting clays in his spare time.
Young added, “It’s been a great career, but I’m looking forward to sitting on my front porch when the next storm rolls through.”
Join us in celebrating McNall and Young as we send our sincerest thanks and gratitude to two of LaGrange County REMC’s finest. May their retirement years be just as rewarding as our time with them.