Lethbridge and Medicine Hat may have friendly rivalries in many areas but when it comes to times of emergency, both municipalities are quick to act in order to help each other out.
Such was the case earlier this week following a devastating thunderstorm and high winds that hit Medicine Hat, Redcliff and Cypress County on Monday, leaving more than 7,500 customers without power.
The City of Lethbridge's Electric Utility department received a call at about 2 p.m. Monday from Medicine Hat Electric Utility asking if there was any way we could send a crew to help support them. One of their newer transmission lines, which feeds substations and thousands of customers, was heavily damaged.
After confirming that the City of Lethbridge would have enough resources in the case that something was to happen here concurrently, a crew of five personnel with four vehicles and equipment left early Tuesday morning to help with the restoration of the Medicine Hat electric grid. They are anticipated to remain through this week.
"This was a pretty devastating event in terms of electric infrastructure," says Gary Smith, Electric Operations Distribution Manager for the City of Lethbridge. "They worked well into the evening Tuesday night and got great praise about how much they accomplished and got restored. Our crew restored and rebuilt blocks of power lines to get them back up and running."
City Manager Lloyd Brierley says the move to lend a hand by the Electric Utility department shows the true spirit of what it means to be in public service.
"Part of the call to work in public service is wanting to help your community and those around you," says Brierley. "I am proud to see our crews offer their skill and expertise to the City of Medicine Hat."
Mayor Blaine Hyggen says he is grateful to see the partnership between the two cities and hopes to see more collaboration in the future in a range of issues of importance.
"On behalf of Lethbridge City Council, I'm very pleased and thankful that some of our electrical staff have been able to significantly help our friends in Medicine Hat in recovering from Monday's awful storm," says Hyggen.