The idea that someone would wait in line to do someone else’s laundry was mind-blowing.
That was the reaction of at least one lineman when he saw the women waiting in line at Sebring International Raceway near Sebring, Florida. In a post shared to Facebook, Jennifer Taylor Koukos captured an image of women who had volunteered to do laundry for the workers still trying to restore power after Hurricane Irma.
According to the Highland News-Sun, the women call themselves the Linemen Laundry Ladies. The brainchild of Kelsey Murray, the project is aimed at helping the crews who work long days far from home, without access to comforts like clean clothes.
Volunteers collect a load or two of dirty clothing from the linemen, then take them home to wash them (or go to a nearby laundromat). Each lineman’s clothes are put in a plastic bag with a name, company, date they’ll need them again, and contact information.
Murray’s fiancé is a lineman, so she knew exactly how great the need was. She told the News-Sun:
“The staging sites aren’t always the best because it is an emergency situation. There are no laundry facilities. Many of the men have not had a chance to do laundry because they are working 16-hour days. Once we got power back on, we offered to do some laundry. It is our way to say thank you to them. We all take care of each other in the line life.”
According to NTD.tv, companies are working around the clock to restore power throughout Florida. While millions were left without electricity immediately after the storm, those numbers are steadily decreasing — though there are still hundreds of thousands without power. With temperatures reaching the high 80s and 90s, lack of electricity is a major concern.
Murray wrote on Facebook that in two days, volunteers processed 177 loads of laundry for the linemen. As one volunteer pointed out, the idea was to let the workers concentrate on food and sleep once they got off duty, not finding laundry facilities.
And that help is appreciated. Koukos wrote about one lineman’s reaction upon seeing the women waiting to take their laundry:
One lineman asked me what those ladies were standing in line for. When I told him they were waiting to be given laundry, with a look of sheer disbelief he said, “You gotta be kidding me.”
For many of the volunteers, it’s just a matter of paying forward a kindness they’ve experienced in their own lives. As one woman, whose husband is also a lineman, told the Sun-News:
“I will take care of these men. Other people take care of my husband. Why wouldn’t I take care of theirs?”