Every day our line workers put themselves on the line to power up people’s lives. Installing and restoring power is a lot more intricate than just flipping a switch; it takes skill, long hours and in very rare and unfortunate cases, it can take even a life.  

This year, DTE lost two incredible field workers, Ozzie and Joel, while working onsite to restore power to customers. We also lost Drew, a line worker who lost his battle with cancer. All of these losses have weighed heavy on our hearts, especially those who worked with them closely.  

“A lot of our crew members have been working here for decades and have become family to one another,” said Michael Berro, Distribution Operations supervisor. “Ozzie and Joe worked at the Redford Service Center for over 20 years, so dealing with these losses have been really tough on the warehouse.” 

The company funded Ozzie’s funeral costs, and colleagues came together and donated to the family he left behind.   

DTE crew members from across the state came together again this month to raise money for Joel, which went toward funeral costs and supporting his three children.  

“At the end of the day, line workers have each other’s backs,” said Milton Hall Jr., field overhead supervisor at Redford Service Center.  

DTE line worker Charles Frierson describes a strong bond between team members. “It’s more than just a job,” he explained, “it’s a community. Countless times I’ve seen people with IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Union tattoos or hats, and we start talking like we’re family.” 

“We go through similar experiences, things that nobody else understands,” said Charles, “so it hurts when we lose someone, whether they worked with us or somewhere else across the country.” 

Earlier this month, the leadership at Redford Service Center put together a barbecue for their crews to send their condolences and show their appreciation for the hard work they do.  

“Linework is a very difficult job, and there’s not always someone there to say thank you for the fine job these people do,” said Milton. “The barbecue was our way of saying thank you to our brave and hardworking crews. It’s about unity.”