Going above and beyond…Tolley and crew recognized by County Mayor, EMA Director

Published 1:25 pm Thursday, December 29, 2022

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While many stayed warm enjoying time with their families during the bitterly cold Christmas holiday weekend, a group of City of Elizabethton Water Resource employees was responding to nearly 200 calls involving frozen meters and water lines.
One of those families who was taken care of by these employees included a family with a small child on Mary Patton Highway who had lost their water service due to a frozen and busted water meter on December 26, making repairs to get the family water once again.
On Wednesday, Dec. 28, Billy Harrell, Carter County Emergency Management Agency Director, presented David Tolley of the Elizabethton Water Resource Department a plaque on behalf of himself and Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby for the response of Tolley and his crew to help the family get their water back on. Water Resource General Manager Jonathan Pleasant was also present for the presentation.
“It’s very challenging,” said Tolley of making repairs in the bitter cold. “Most of the time you are having to put your arms at least halfway down or better into the meter box to get the meter turned off. You have tools stuck to your hands and you have to be careful of the ice.”
Getting the water turned off is just half the battle as once the water is turned off then the real work begins.
“Once you get the water off you still have to reach back in there and replace the meter so you can get the water turned back on,” Tolley said. “Sometimes it requires digging with shovels.”
Repairing lines during freezing weather is not just as easy as going to the meter. Sometimes the crews have to do some detective work to locate exactly where the problem originates from.
“We were out on Reynolds Road and had people out of water and you have to start playing scenarios in your head and keep stepping back to see where the problem is,” said Tolley. “We looked for an hour to identify where the problem was to fix that problem on Christmas day.”
Tolley and his crew spent most of the weekend taking care of water problems while residents were unwrapping Christmas gifts and having Christmas dinner with their families who may have come in from out of town for the holiday weekend.
“We had worked from 3 a.m. on December 26 until 3 p.m. and then had guys out until 1 a.m. on Tuesday morning,” Tolley said. “I am proud of the guys we have on the crew. We have a lot of young guys on the team but we broke them in real good this weekend.”
Harrell said that he and Woodby appreciated the response that Tolley and the City Water Resources team made especially in the case of the family on Mary Patton Highway.

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