An interesting thing has transpired on the SABI mission to Suriname. While the purpose of the trip has always been to train the EBS linemen, a unique brotherhood amongst the 14 trainers — many of whom had never met each other previously — has also blossomed.
One of those trainers is James Scott, a Local 1245 journeyman lineman who currently works for ILB. Scott’s story is anything but typical. For starters, he was born and raised in North Pole, Alaska. In high school, he answered letters addressed to Santa from all over the world.
In 2001, Scott was seriously injured on the job while riding on the skid of a helicopter (a now-defunct work practice). After back and knee surgeries, a doctor told Scott he would never climb again, so he decided to go back to school, and eventually earned a degree in economics from UC Berkeley.
Never one to sit idle for too long, Scott eventually returned to 1245 and line work. An avid skier, he competes internationally at a very high level. When the snow melts, Scott enjoys base jumping all over the world. Quiet and unassuming, he is not one to brag about his accomplishments.
Scott currently lives in Bend, Oregon when he is not traveling or at work in California. He has recently opened a bungee jumping business in Bend.
Scott clearly loves adventure, so it’s no surprise that he took advantage of the chance to travel to Suriname. But he also embraces opportunities to learn new things, and the mission to Suriname has been all he had hoped for.
“I’m getting a little better each day at delivering the message about safety,” said Scott. “Communicating is the hardest part, but we are all learning what the EBS brothers will respond to. At the same time, we are learning a lot from the Surinamese linemen.”
Scott echoed something all the SABI trainers have shared. Without a truck full of tools, or tool room to rely on, the resourcefulness from the EBS crews has been noticeable.
Line work is not the only topic Scott has been schooling others on this week. At the Miami Airport, Scott put on a Rubik’s cube clinic for the other SABI trainers. 90 seconds has been the longest he has taken to perfect the cube. A patient man, Scott’s prowess has yet to rub off on his fellow trainers.
Report compiled by Bob Gerstle
Photos by John Storey and Bob Gerstle