‘These guys are heroes:’ Community rallies around Diboll utility workers

East Texas crews are working hard to restore utilities to many residents after the winter storm and one community is giving back.
Community rallies around Diboll utility workers
Updated: Feb. 19, 2021 at 9:08 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DIBOLL, Texas (KTRE) - East Texas crews are working hard to restore utilities to many communities after the winter storm. A video of crews repairing a water line in Diboll went viral and was viewed more than four thousand times on Facebook. It drew a response for the community to give back.

“It was very cold that day,” City of Diboll Water Department Head Tino Lopez said. “We did what we could, but we had to do it with water shooting out and getting all of us wet.”

This was the scene Wednesday near US Highway 59 North and Lumberjack Drive in Diboll, where city officials say a frozen fire line thawed out and blew a value. Lopez, maintenance operators James Johnson and Steven Smith said it took crews and city leaders two and half hours to fix.

“The quicker we could get it fixed, the quicker we could dry off and warm up,” Johnson said.

This is just one of the many water issues crews at the City of Diboll have dealt with since the winter storm. Some working 24-hour shifts, others from sunrise until 10 at night.

“City crews continue to work. Folks, these guys are heroes. They’ve been wet, cold, tired, and hungry all week long, but just keep on trucking. Some of them have been without power or water at their own homes, but they keep showing up for us. We can’t ever fully repay them, but once things settle down we, as a community, are going to do everything we can to show our appreciation,” said Diboll Mayor Trey Wilkerson.

“We weren’t expecting this, and that’s for every city all over Texas,” Lopez said. “Today we’re having some issues as well. We’re out shutting meters off and trying to get to them as soon as possible.”

“We need to do something for these guys,” Diboll resident Tonya Mathews said.

Mathews said she wanted to give back and hopes others will join her in making care packages for those crew members.

“I own a salon in Diboll and even if I can do something for them as far as haircuts or anything, I can offer to them, in my salon, I am open for it,” she said.

“We thanked them, but like I said, this is what we do,” Lopez said. “This is what we do every day. We come in. We provide water and sewer, and this is what we do here for the City of Diboll and providing the service to the community.

Even though you get up to that and you know looking at it, it’s going to suck, and there’s no nice way of saying that, it’s going to be rough, but you go through it because you have people you respect and you care about that are going to be right there with you,” Smith said. “And if you’re not right there in it, you’re putting somebody else in it. I mean every step of the way, if I’ve been in a hole, he’s been in a hole and he’s been in a hole right there with me. So, you get to a point to where you’re not going to let your brothers down like that. You’re not going to let your co-workers down like that, knowing that they are counting on you to pull your weight.

“When things get tough, these guys work harder to meet the challenge,” Diboll City Manager Gerry Boren said. “We’re proud of them and just like I hope the whole community is proud of these guys.”

Crew members said there is still work to be done over the weekend. The mayor of Diboll said on Friday night, “We just got the recommendation to allow normal water usage to resume. Don’t be wasteful, of course, but go ahead and use what you need. The City will evaluate in the morning to make sure that levels hold, but it looks like things are good! There is no way we’d be in this position right now if it wasn’t for the cooperation of all of Diboll.”

Copyright 2021 KTRE. All rights reserved.