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Today is July 6, 2022

Son follows in his father’s footsteps to become lineman

By Steven Ward

Son follows in his father’s footsteps to become lineman

Jason Holder never thought that his son, Dawson Holder, would be able to follow in his footsteps to become a lineman for an electric cooperative.

It wasn’t that Dawson wouldn’t want to pursue a lineman career like his dad. Jason figured it wouldn’t be possible.

Dawson, 19, was seriously injured in an ATV accident in 2017.

He had eight surgeries on his leg.

“He was in bad shape for about two years,” Jason, 45, said.

“He had plastic surgeries and rods. They wanted to amputate twice. His leg looks like he was bitten by a great white shark.”

Turns out, the accident wasn’t a physical deterrent to Dawson’s pole-climbing career. Dawson said he loves his new job as an apprentice lineman for Southern Pine Electric. He’s been on the job for four months.

His dad is a lineman foreman at Dixie Electric where he has worked for 24 years.

The Holders live in Laurel with Dawson’s mom and Jason’s wife, Shai, and Dawson’s 15-year-old sister, Graison. 

“I picked a good career. It’s been great. With my dad being a lineman, I know about the late nights, the storm calls, and being gone for hours or even days,” Dawson said.

After taking some vocational tech classes in high school, Dawson thought he might want to become a welder. That changed after he had some difficulty with college algebra, he said. 

When Dawson told his dad he wanted to become a lineman, Jason said he was proud.

“He watched me through the years. He had a good idea of what it’s like. I just didn’t think he would have a future in physical work,” Jason said.

The work is serious, dangerous, and physically demanding.

Describing life in a bucket truck, Jason said linemen need to have stamina.

“At first, it’s scary. But then you get used to it, but you still have respect for being up there. It’s not a job for…you have to have some grit. You have to have mental and physical toughness. After a bad storm, you could be in a bucket for six to eight hours in a day,” Jason said.

Dawson said he’s blessed to be on “a good crew.”

“I’ve been out on some calls. I’ve seen a lot and paid attention. These guys are showing me the ropes.”

Describing his first four months on the job, Dawson said there are good days and bad days.

“A bad day is when it’s raining outside and I’m sitting inside. A good day is when it’s sunny and I get to go up in a bucket,” he said.

Dawson said his father has been a big influence on his life.

“He taught me about hard work. I’ve seen him bust his tail all my life, so it makes me want to work even harder,” Dawson said.

The other thing the father and son linemen have in common is working part-time jobs. 

Jason studied criminal justice at Jones College and works as a part-time patrol deputy for the Jones County Sheriff’s Office.

“I love it. I got certified in 2017,” Jason said.

Dawson has been cutting grass since high school and has a landscaping business he runs during his off time.

“I used to go to my dad’s office. Hang out at the warehouse when I was growing up. One of his work friends asked me to cut his grass. I’ve been doing it ever since,” Dawson said.

Although they don’t see each other as much as they used to, Jason and Dawson are still close.

When they have time, they camp, hunt deer and turkeys, fish, and ride motorcycles.

Hopefully, the weather will be nice on Father’s Day, and they won’t be called away to work.

“A typical Father’s Day for us would be church, lunch, maybe fishing at our friend’s pond, or hanging out at our swimming pool,” Jason said.

Jason said he knows if his son gets called out to restore power during bad weather, Dixie Electric’s service area will be next.

“Southern Pine’s area is west of us. So usually, if they get it, I know we’re about to get it,” Jason said.

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