URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Central Illinois is no stranger to severe weather. Heat waves, storms and wildfire smoke have all been issues this year. But no matter the disaster, linemen are some of the first to arrive.

Ameren apprentice Kris Fiedler said the job is no joke.

“There’s a lot of risk out there, but me being an apprentice, I have a lot of journeymen and foremen that try to train me as best they can,” Fiedler said. 

Brad Hockersmith is an Ameren journeyman with 13 years of experience. He said he takes each challenge one day and one line at a time. 

“Embracing the suck, I guess is a good way to say it,” Hockersmith said. “Enjoying the moments when it’s unenjoyable and you’ll end up smiling through it, I guess.”

He said seeing other wiremen at work, along with his father’s help, gave him the courage to pursue the career. 

“I wanted to work outside. I wanted to work with my hands,” he said. “The heights don’t bother me, I actually kind of enjoy it a little bit.”

Fiedler said the most satisfying part is something every lineman enjoys: the satisfaction of a job well done and the appreciation from customers.

“They know that we’ve been working our tails off to get people back on and when they come outside, they’re so grateful,” Fiedler said. “They bring you water, candy, soda, trying to give you all the thanks they can. That’s probably the best feeling there is.”