During the Holiday season, people like to decorate nearly anything with Christmas lights, and in DTE’s Distribution Operations, bucket trucks are no exception.
This year, Carl Simm, a lineman at the Redford Service Center and Jason Barnett, a lineman at the Newport Service Center, spent nearly 10 days decorating a bucket truck and trailer, with just one goal in mind: spreading holiday cheer.
On Thursday, the crew shined their lights on children at Beaumont Royal Oak, during the hospital’s “Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams” event. During the event pediatric patients shine flashlights from hospital windows and look for community members standing outside the hospital to flash them back. The event takes place every evening in December.
“Even kids in the hospital deserve to have a good Christmas, with all the stuff they’re going through,” Barnett said. “If we can put a smile on their faces that’s all that matters.”
For years, different service centers have decorated trucks for holiday parades and other events. A few strings of lights, some wrapping paper on the bucket and that’s it. When Simm joined the company as a lineman apprentice six years ago, he wanted to brighten things up.
“It started off with me just wanting to do my own hometown parade,” said Simm of Allen Park. “I’d use my own lights and decorations, and after the parade I’d take everything off to have the truck back in service the next day.”
Simm and Barnett teamed up in 2015 at the Newport Service Center to decorate a truck, and every year since, the project has grown. Today, the truck features more than 30,000 lights, over 800 feet of extension cord, thousands of zip ties, two 6,000 watt generators, an audio system, inflatables and lawn ornaments. A 25-foot trailer attached to the back of the truck is set up with utility poles and lights to resemble primary and secondary power lines.
“I do it for the smiles,” Barnett said. “It’s just really nice to see all of the families come out to see us.”
The DTE holiday truck will return to “Moonbeams for Sweet Dreams” on December 20, 24 and 25.
“I grew up not having much. I’m extremely fortunate today to have a job with this company,” Simm said. “I could sit at home with my family, but instead, I’ll be there giving back.”