Hoosier Lineworkers Making Global Impact

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GUATEMALA -

Two Hoosiers involved in a volunteer program bringing electricity to remote villages in a developing Central American country are touting the success of a third trip. Project Indiana this time around involved representatives of 17 power cooperatives throughout the state. Indiana Electric Cooperatives Vice President Gayvin Strantz says the project has a big impact on the villagers' quality of life in a short period of time. During an interview on Inside INdiana Business Television, Strantz was joined by Greenfield-based NineStar Connect Director of Operations Jamie Bell, who said adjusting to the elevation and terrain was tricky.

Crews had to install polls, lines and hardware without many modern pieces of equipment like bucket trucks. Bell was part of the installation team and said "the 10,000-foot elevation was probably one of the biggest challenges to get even any of the equipment up there along with all the tools. It was a big challenge." Once the work was complete, Bell told Inside INdiana Business "the gratifying part of being able to have the homeowner -- the person -- flip the switch on was fantastic."

By hand, the crews electrified 60 homes, a school, a church and a clinic. By hand, it took a total of four miles of primary line, 27 miles of secondary line, 36 anchors and six transformers. Strantz says "you'd be surprised how fast that (electricity) helps those people to get some of those modern conveniences," which include use of refrigeration and household appliances.

The journey to the village of El Zapotillo in Huehuetenango, Guatemala took place in March. The project was first launched in 2014.

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