So I am having coffee out on the third story veranda at my sister's home in San Antonio. Enjoying my morning and gazing out at the scenery when my eyes catch movement to my left. Now that is just too high for someone to be working! <notice tower on left of frame> I watched them for a few minutes then decide to get my camera and go take a closer look.
Who are these guys? They are called Cell Tower Workers. As they say "just two guys and a rope". Their job is to scale towers that can be up to 1,000 feet but on average 200 to 500
feet. They climb to fix or upgrade the tower's capability to deliver phone, music, video and online games at faster speeds. The 4G network has become the driving force for this type of
work. There are more active cell phones in the U.S. than people. These guys work for $16 to $20 dollars an hour under rough conditions depending on the time crunch the company has
from the cell phone carriers. In storms, at night, with rusty equipment they scale the tower to keep your cell phone working so you can send that text or picture or just have a friendly
chat. Many tower workers have lost their lives. Jay Guilford was one in many. At twenty five years old he finished his job and was dismounting the tower in a happy
mood. As he descended he laughed to his buddies down below saying "bouncy, bouncy" as he repelled...then the gear malfunctions and broke. He died with in minutes of
impact. Tower climbing has approximately 10,000 workers with a death rate roughly 10 times that of construction. In a nine year span, nearly 100 tower climbers have been killed on the
job. (According to an internet article)
“It’s the wild, wild west of the technology industry,” said Victor Guerrero, a construction project manager and former climber. “You’ve got to have a problem to hang 150 feet in the air on an 8-inch strap. You’ve got to be insane.”We were working in the field for 40 hours straight. They had crews in rain, sleet, snow.” No, not insane... it is just to bring home a steady paycheck to their family.
These guys I met were fun and full of life. They sang while they worked and even gave me a wave and a big smile from a top that tower. I only wish I knew their names. I wish they knew I was trying to give them recognition by sharing their story on my blog. I hope next time you turn on your cell phone and make a call, text a friend or even curse the thing for not working fast enough....you will remember these brave souls high on the tower getting the job done. Maybe even whisper a safety prayer for them.