GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Mississippi Power retiree Jack Moran remembers when the relentless winds from Hurricane Camille arrived where he was stationed at in Wiggins after the storm made landfall Aug. 17th, 1969.
"When that wind came up, it tore things loose from the building,” Moran said. "We lost all contact with everyone down here on the Coast. No phone, no nothing.”
Back then, Moran was an engineering technician. He says in the days and weeks after Camille, he and everyone on the job went to work getting the lights back on all over South Mississippi.
"I was in Wiggins during the storm, and they sent two crews up there from Georgia, and they had two bucket trucks,” Moran added. “I had never seen one, so I said man, we've got to have one of these things.”
So, Jack, being a Jack of all trades, was able to help get more bucket trucks to the devastated region.
“I also worked in transportation, so we were able to request three bucket trucks,” he said. “That helped greatly.”
Fellow retiree Larry Dedeaux rode out Camille at the company’s 28th St. facility as he and others prepared for post-Camille restoration work.
"It blew the front windows out with rocks and stuff hitting the front windows,” Dedeaux said. “A lot of them had rock damage. Even the trucks in the back had damage. Windows knocked out and stuff like that."
Down on the beach, the iconic Mississippi Power building on 30th Ave. was the only recognizable landmark in the area after Camille’s massive storm surge and category five winds flattened the Coast. But with help from 1,350 workers from all over the nation, Dedeaux says Mississippi Power was able to restore electricity to the 104,000 customers who were in the dark.
“We did good,” Dedeaux added. “Everybody had a job and they knew what they were doing. Of course, we had a lot of help with line crews and stuff like that. They were repairing lines and we were getting the substations checked out and making sure everything was working, but it was a lot of work.”