At Mount Vernon: Josh Myers, left, South Plains EC, and Logan Godino, North Plains EC
Youth Tour—Then Hurricane Harvey—Reveal Reach of Cooperative Spirit
Logan Godino | North Plains EC, 2017
By Chris Burrows | June 1, 2018
Canadian High School still planned to hold classes Monday, January 16, 2017, after a weekend storm caked tree limbs, buildings and power lines in ice up to an inch thick. Then, Monday morning, the ice began to melt, fall to the ground, and snap utility poles and tree branches. The school lost power and canceled classes for the day.
Logan Godino, a senior at the school, didn’t sprawl across the family couch the way many of his classmates probably did.
He set to work.
His coveralls and coat needed to be dried after he had run them through the wash that morning, thinking he still was going to school. But now, after working as a groundman late Saturday until late Sunday on North Plains Electric Cooperative’s devastated grid, he was on the phone with his foreman preparing to head back out into the frigid cold.
With a co-op lineman for a father, it’s what Godino always has known.
“The co-op is basically the other side of my family,” he said.
It only seemed natural, then, that after Hurricane Harvey ravaged electric grids along the Texas coast in August 2017, the lineman in training and Youth Tour alum got permission from his teachers at Texas State Technical College in Waco to miss his first week of lineman classes for hands-on restoration work on the front lines. Many Youth Tour alumni go on to work for co-ops after the trip to Washington, D.C., but a rare few have the guts to pursue the grueling and dangerous field of line work.
“He’s determined and driven,” said Randy Mahannah, North Plains EC general manager. “It’s unusual that you have somebody that from the age of 16 or 17 knows what they want to do and then they work toward that goal.”
With the blessing of his teachers, Godino headed south, meeting a North Plains EC crew in Sinton, where their specialized equipment was an asset as they helped San Patricio Electric Cooperative restore power to some 7,000 members.
“We could get into the marshes, swamps and areas that were still really flooded—areas you couldn’t get a truck into,” Godino said. “It was hot, miserable, humid and lots of mosquitoes.”
While working in the hurricane-battered town of Refugio, Godino met a woman who was instantly moved when he told her where he was from. Canadian High School had defeated Refugio High School in the state football championship in 2015. After the hurricane, Canadian collected supplies to send to her town.
“She just looked at me and tears filled her eyes. She gave me the biggest hug,” Godino said. “But people were grateful just to see us running down the highway, putting lines back in the air.”
Growing up in a co-op family, Godino always knew how co-op folks took care of each other, especially during disasters, but it wasn’t until he went on Youth Tour in June 2017, between the ice storm and Harvey, that he learned the cooperative spirit wasn’t unique to the Texas Panhandle.
“I thought maybe it was just our co-op that was more housed around family,” Godino said, “but I...realized they’re really all based around rural life and family-oriented.”
A highlight of the trip for Godino was meeting U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry in his Capitol Hill office. While most kids asked the congressman about day-to-day life or making big decisions, Godino wanted to know why the government couldn’t do more to help with costs incurred by the ice storm. Thornberry didn’t offer much, but Godino was enamored all the same.
“He’s from a small town right down the road from us in Clarendon, Texas, where I have tons of friends,” Godino said. “To talk to somebody in Washington, D.C., who knows what it’s like to be from a small town was neat.”
While Godino isn’t quite sure where he’ll end up after lineman school, he intends to work for a co-op—because now he knows how high and far it can take him.
Mahannah would be glad to have him back in Canadian.
“He’s got a standing offer from North Plains Electric to come to work.”