Giving back to the community
Johnny McDaniel, lifelong resident of Leachville and an electrician, is giving back to the community by helping others who suffered damage from the Jan. 27 ice storm that left Buffalo Island without power.
"I've done things in my life that are not right," McDaniel said. "This is a way I can help my community and hopefully make up for some of my past mistakes."
McDaniel works for Elliott Electric in Benton. He has been with Elliott for 10 years and travels where job sites are. It is a job he loves.
"It is a great company to work for," McDaniel said. "Lloyd Elliott is a caring man who is willing to help others whenever he can."
When McDaniel was returning to his home on Thursday night after the ice storm came through on Tuesday night he was shocked with what he saw.
"This was the worst ice storm I have ever seen in my life," McDaniel said. "I called Mr. Elliott and as usual, he was there. He let me off work so I could help here. He sent Jimmy Dublin here to help me. He sent generators. We have hooked up generators for the elderly or the sick and when they get power, we move it on to another residence. If they did not have money for gas, we have provided it."
McDaniel has spent the week hooking up and repairing electrical services to houses in the area that suffered damage. All of the work has been done at no charge to the residents. He has made trips to Little Rock and Mississippi trying to get the parts needed to repair the houses.
"Don't thank me, thank Mr. Elliott and Jimmy Dublin," McDaniel said. "They are the reason I am able to help. I needed a job and my cousin put me in touch with Mr. Elliott. He hired me, he trained me, and he has sent me to school. Mr. Elliott is paying for the equipment and the gas. When Katrina hit in Mississippi and Louisiana, he set up a shelter there to care for the people. He helps people wherever there is a need."
In addition to the electrical work McDaniel has been doing, he has purchased water and stops along the way to give out bottled water to power company workers.
"They have worked hard and done an outstanding job," McDaniel said.
McDaniel also purchased a chain saw and had plans to get out and help clean up people's property when he wasn't doing electrical work but he did not catch up.
"There was a lot of damage to people's homes that had to be repaired before the electricity could be hooked back up," he said. "We tried to get to as many as we could. This is my town. I was born and raised here. I just wanted to do what I could. A lot of people have been out in Leachville helping their neighbors. That is the way it should be. I feel like I'm the least one. I have no respect for anyone who would take advantage of people in times likes these."
McDaniel left his home in Leachville on Sunday to work in South Carolina but many in his hometown will have lights and be comfortable thanks to him.