Vegetation masters

Posted on Jul 30 2018 in Noble REMC

Sonny Windhorst smiles as he readies to cut limbs while in the bucket truck.

When members see our right-of-way crew along the side of the road, some may see a picture of destruction rather than preservation as chainsaws cut through limbs and branches are thrown into the chipper.

What they may not understand is the hard work being done to maintain Noble REMC lines to keep our members safe and provide a reliable flow of electricity.

To better succeed in that mission and after contracting services for the past few months, the co-op recently welcomed two new tree trimmers — Trevor Harlan and Sonny Windhorst — to bring our services in-house. They will join veteran Right-of-Way Foreman Ray Burns to complete the crew.

“Bringing our right-of-way crew in-house allows the cooperative to maintain our personal touch,” Burns said. “Our crew cares about our members.”

Trevor Harlan works to remove limbs along a roadway.

It’s not always easy to watch the team take down limbs in your yard, but the same trees that beautify your landscape and provide shade for your home can be responsible for serious danger to your family and potential problems with your electrical service. This includes momentary short circuits, flickering lights, and in the case of strong winds, snow or ice, an outage due to knocked out power lines from falling limbs.

When visiting your area, Burns’ crew evaluates the power lines and public safety. If necessary, they’ll identify trees that need to be trimmed at our cost. They will attempt to notify the property owner as a courtesy.

As a commitment to our members’ safety and comfort, we need to keep trees and power lines away from each other. Windhorst and Harlan are here to do just that.

Windhorst comes to the position with experience after previously working for Mint City Tree Services, a vegetation management contractor for utilities. He’s a graduate of LaVille Jr.-Sr. High School and earned a bachelor’s degree from Defiance College.

Living in Fort Wayne with his wife Rachel, he was eager to begin his work at the cooperative.

“I wanted to join the REMC because every person I’ve met that works for the REMC loves it,” Windhorst said. “It’s great working for a company with a great reputation.”

Harlan agreed, “I have heard really good things about the REMC, and I wanted to be a part of it. I thought I’d really enjoy the job — which I do — and love getting to be outside.”

An Albion resident, Harlan graduated from Central Noble High School, where he took vocational training through Impact Institute.

He recently married his wife, McKenzie, at Sweet Church Community Center near Skinner Lake.

Burns said the duo are exceeding expectations and are a great addition to the crew.

“I could not have asked for two better employees,” Burns said.

Noble REMC’s in-house right-of-way crew works to clear overgrown limbs and brush.