Cheyenne Abnet and his crew were in disbelief as they arrived to work this morning. Trees were toppled, poles were broken, wires down and homes completely leveled due to a powerful tornado that hit Cutlerville, a town of a little under 18,000 in Kent County.

Abnet and the crew, like many others spread out in West Michigan, showed up to support residents facing extreme hardship and uncertainty following the powerful storms.

‘Place is a mess’

“This place is a mess,” Abnet said. “People’s lives are forever changed in the blink of an eye. Some are upset their animals are gone forever or still missing. They are literally picking up pieces of their lives. We are just here to offer support the best we can. It’s going to take some time. We just ask for everyone’s patience to get everyone restored safely.”

Abnet, whose crew works out of Coldwater Service Center, said several tornadoes struck the area around their headquarters.

“It’s chaotic,” he said. “But I’m confident the crews will rise to the challenge. We always do.”

Over 175 crews are helping with clean-up efforts, and Abnet said his team is educating outside helpers on restoration plans, including replacing poles and wire.

A Living Puzzle

“It’s like a puzzle that we are putting together in real time after Mother Nature smashed it all into pieces,” he said. “We have faced these severe storms before, and unfortunately, we will face them again. But we will continue to be there for our customers no matter how big the storm or the challenges we face. We just ask for grace to get them back up in a safe manner.”

Last month, Abnet and his crew helped restore power in Marshall after a tornado ripped through the community in early March.

“This one is much, much worse,” Abnet said. “And the one in Marshall was pretty bad.”

“Tornadoes seem to be happening more and more. I guess that’s just the way it’s going to be these days,” he said. “It would be nice to have a little break from Mother Nature. But that doesn’t seem likely. She doesn’t seem to care.”