Men on District 3 road crew love to help others

Published 2:22 pm Thursday, May 30, 2024

Editors Note: This is part of a series featuring District 3’s road crew. 

ENTERPRISE —Terry Fuller has worked for the District 3 road crew for a total of about nine years in two separate stints. He spent several years working in the oilfield before coming back to work in Lincoln County. 

Fuller has no specific role in the district but is usually driving trucks and operating equipment. He said he likes the environment and the crew has a good boss. 

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Working with storm damage, Fuller said it can get a little hectic at times. He has responded to storms as a road crew worker and as a Volunteer Firefighter with Hog Chain Volunteer Fire Department. Fuller has been on the VFD for 31 years. 

“It can be long hours but we all try to pitch in and do our part and try to get the roads back open,” Fuller said. “It is my calling. I do whatever I can to try and help. I worked with FEMA after Katrina in Louisiana putting blue tarps on roofs.” 

After the May 13th storms, Fuller,  District 3 Supervisor John David Hart and Johnny Ray (Hodges) went to Jimbo Hall’s home to help clean up the debris. One tree totaled Hall’s truck. It was all done on their own time, not County time, on a Saturday. 

“It was just the right thing to do. I knew he would come if I needed it,” Fuller said. 

Chainsaw guru

Johnny Hodges has worked in District 3 for three and a half years. He is a native of Lincoln County and said he worked for the county in a summer program as a teenager. The program allowed him to work under Ramsey Smith in District 4.

A position opened up in District 3 a couple of years ago and he started working. He does a little bit of everything in the district from running the tractor to cutting trees up with his own personal saw. 

“It is a good job. I like it because there is a new project every day. You have a good group and supervisor, the benefits are good. I like it,” Hodges said.

Storm damage cleanup is different every time. Hodges said they typically get together and come up with a plan. Crews try to hit the main roads first and split up into different groups. A game plan helps them work efficiently and effectively.

Hodges is naturally drawn to working with the chainsaw. He has experience responding to hurricane damage on the coasts and working in the National Forests. 

“I’ve been sawing since I was 14. I sawed for the government and outside of here I have my own tree removal company,” Hodges said. “I do a good bit of sawing in the County. We might need to clear a right away for a power line or equipment to get through.” 

He said each tree is like a puzzle. Oak trees are typically more complicated than a pine tree. Hodges tries to analyze the tree, which way it is leaning, the limbs and everything factors in. 

“Every tree is different and even a small one can hurt you,” Hodges said. “It can get very complicated when cutting trees after storms. A lot of times you have two or more guys sawing at once. It is dangerous. You have to watch for multiple guys. I personally rather be by myself. “ 

Hodges likes to run his personal saw with a 36-inch bar and he has another one with a 28-inch bar. They come in handy depending on the size of the tree.

He is a chainsaw guru making his own chains and working on his saws. Hodges believes there is no such thing as too much power in a chain saw which is one reason he uses the bigger saws. 

“If you are cutting into something it might be heavier but it works you less,” Hodges said. “The length keeps you further away from danger as well. I’ve had some fun sawing, down in the national forest we cut some big trees.”

In working on the roads, in the storms and with trees, Hodges believes he is protected. 

“If you want to learn about faith, the bible has everything laid out,” Hodges said. “I have a firm belief in God and he keeps me safe.”