By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
Jim Hartzell has worked for the city 20 years and in that time has encountered a number of difficult situations, but never one that has not been overcome, mainly thanks to teamwork.
“We’ve certainly dealt with all kinds of disasters, from presidential visits to ice storms,” said Hartzell, an electrician with the technical services department.
The city of Enid encompasses 1,500 square miles, 155 water wells, seven booster stations, two fresh water plants, a wastewater facility, tennis courts, 33 parks and a number of ball fields, all of which create a number of issues city workers face every day, he said.
One of the incidents Hartzell recalls happened in 1992 when President George H.W. Bush was scheduled to visit Enid. Convention Hall, wired to serve as a reserve White House, suffered a power failure early.
Hartzell, who is a Masonic Lodge member, called a brother Mason who worked for OG&E Electric Services. The man helped rewire Convention Hall overnight to prepare for the visit.
“Otherwise they would have rerouted the president to Atlanta, Ga., and he never would have come here,” Hartzell said. “It takes a lot of buddies to do it all.”
Bill Hole, department supervisor, said the older employees are a group of very dedicated employees and have a good work ethic.
When a massive ice storm struck Enid in 2002 Hartzell and others brought in six loads of generators to maintain water pressure in Enid during the ice storm. About 3 million watts of electricity were brought in.
“We went all over pulling trucks with dozens of generators. It’s amazing the network of people I work with. It’s not just one guy alone. If something doesn’t work right we can usually tell what is wrong,” Hartzell said.
The ice storm is the most unusual thing that has occurred, he said. It hit us all over. I always thought with as many square miles as we cover nothing would hit us so hard we would lose it all,” he said.
Hartzell said the other employees who have been on the job as long as he has are dedicated to their jobs. If someone needs help on a job, they can bring in people from the street department or the park department and overlap. If Hartzell needs help setting generators, people from another department will assist.
“Everyone ...,” he said, “is dedicated to making things work and won’t give up easy.”