SCDOT worker balances work and family after Hurricane Matthew

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) – Last week we told you about South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) workers who left their families or damaged homes to repair roads and bridges after Hurricane Matthew. News13 had a chance to catch up with one of those dedicated workers whose wife is expecting their first child.

Joey Johnson works construction for SCDOT in Florence. After working a 12 hour overnight shift at the Florence County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

It took him another 12 hours to get to his home and pregnant wife in Nichols.

At one point he had to leave his car to walk three miles around down trees and through knee high water.

Johnson explained getting home to comfort his wife during the storm was his main priority.

Johnson said, “Knowing that I couldn’t get to her. There was no way she can get to me and God forbid her going into labor at that time. [I was] Just trying to keep her calm. I let her know that I’m going to make it, one way or another even if I have to walk. I’m getting home I will be there shortly.”

Johnson said his wife’s reaction to him getting home made it all worth it. Luckily, his home was not damaged. He returned to work, working 12 hour shifts six days a week.


Johnson explains how some of his coworkers lost their homes as a result of Hurricane Matthew but still made it to work each and every day.

A dozen SCDOT workers had damage to their home. Three of those workers homes were destroyed but that did not stop any of them from providing safe roads for Florence and surrounding counties.

SCDOT officials say they are honored to work alongside such a dedicated crew. The crews worked 12 hour shifts sometimes more. Almost all of the workers had power outages. Nine workers had flooded or tree damage, three workers homes were completely destroyed.

Johnson said, “[We] Try to fix the roads so people can get to their homes. Pretty much putting others needs in front of our own. I think that says a lot about the DOT.”

SCDOT plans to collect clothing and supplies to help those employees with damages homes.