RUCK COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - Linemen have to overcome all kinds of difficulties while doing their job: extreme weather, trees on lines, snapped power poles, and more. But a student of the Kilgore College Electric Power Technology class had to deal with a medical challenge before he even graduated: a broken bone.
Martin Fabela hails from Corrigan, south of Lufkin, and because of technical difficulties, had to wait quite a while to take his final in the form of Kilgore College’s Lineman Rodeo.
“The week of graduation I broke my foot, so unfortunately I couldn’t do the event,” Fabela explained.
He didn’t do it in class; he got his foot caught in a hole while helping out his father. Travis Croft is in his second year at Kilgore College as Lead Instructor at the KCEPT program, and last year told Fabela what to do.
“Heal up, come back, do the rodeo, get your graduation. He came back, practiced up and here he is doing rodeo events,” Croft said.
Of course, all that time passing between class and the final got to him a little.
“I was waiting for it to heal up so to come back I had a few nerves, but other than that it was good,” Fabela stated.
He had to make his way up a pole several times to perform tasks.
“Climbed up there; it didn’t hurt or anything,” Fabela relayed.
About 40 feet in the air he changed out an insulator and Lead Instructor Croft says some students have a rude awakening about just that when they start the class.
“A lot of guys that first start in this course, they don’t have any idea that we climb poles and we work out of bucket trucks. They find out we work in all weather conditions, not just like the sun shining today, we work in all weather conditions. And they’ve done very well. These guys have really worked hard and I’m very proud of all of them. Very humbled by what they can do,” Croft said.
Fabela was one of the last on the hurt man rescue, and it wasn’t perfect.
“I had a little bit of trouble but I got it under four minutes so that was good,” Fabela said.
The whole course was a little bit of trouble for Fabela, but in the end his buddy’s suggestion of a lineman career may finally be getting started.
Nearly every graduate from KCEPT gets a job offer by the end of the course, and Martin Fabela is applying at Jasper Newton Electric Co-op for a lineman position.