HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Here in the Grand Strand, Santee Cooper employees are preparing to spend the next month restoring power in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
13 employees have volunteered their time and efforts to head to the island of St. Croix bright and early Wednesday morning. Power has been knocked out on the island since Hurricane Maria, about 3 months ago.
"Our first crew left November 20th at that time we had 82% of the people on St. Croix without power and between their efforts and the efforts of other utility companies we're now at 56% restored, so we've come a long ways," said Neil James, Manager of Distribution.
The first group missed Thanksgiving but will return this Friday - just in time for Christmas. The second group got to be with their families on Thanksgiving, but they have to miss Christmas.
"I'm going to be able to bless somebody and truly show the spirit of Christmas in doing so. It's hard to do to leave your family like that. You think about what if something goes wrong, but we're blessed. We'll be alright," said line technician Dennis Dutcher.
Leaving their families for a month is hard enough, but especially so during this time of the year.
"They know what daddy does and they just want me to get home safe so they got a lot of emotions all wound up together as well," said Christian Osha, a line technician.
The crew will spend one month on the island, working day in and day out to restore the rest of the power before making their way back to Myrtle Beach.