Sunday’s storm turned deadly after a tree fell on an Eversource contractor in Middletown, according to police.
Family identified the victim as Howard Alonzo Duffy III, 43, of East Haddam. He was best known by “Lonnie” to those who knew him and beloved in the East Haddam/Moodus community, according to his father Howard Duffy.
“It’s hard to explain. Just…just overwhelmed,” Duffy sighed. He’s still processing the news.
“He would tell me every day what he was doing for work. Really enjoyed it. He was making a good life now,” Howard Duffy said, adding his son was working hard for his twin 10-year-old boys and 22-year-old daughter.
He said his son was an equipment operator for Riggs Distler. NBC Connecticut reached out for comment from the company via phone and email but did not hear back.
He took the job less than a year ago, according to best friend Thomas Walsh, of Moodus, who added the company has been reaching out to Duffy’s family to help during this trying time.
“He worked 80 to 90 hours a week to save his money and he was going to surprise the boys with a gift he had in mind… And his daughter is getting married this year in Florida so he was working hard so he could pay for the nice wedding for her,” according to Walsh.
Duffy also left behind a fiancé who Walsh called “the love of his lifetime.”
Walsh said he broke the news to Duffy’s family about his death.
“Took me hours to believe it,” Walsh said. I hoped it was a bad dream, it wasn’t true.”
The two loved to go camping and four-wheeling. They would take annual trips to Florida and would take Duffy’s kids to Maine.
“I lost a great person,” Walsh said.
“He could do anything. He was amazing. It’s shocking. I can’t believe it,” said Dave Ludovico, of East Haddam, who works at Shagbark Lumber in town with Duffy’s father. He used to work with Duffy there years ago as a mechanic.
While he and Duffy hadn’t seen each other as much as they used to when they worked together, Ludovico said Duffy’s a fiercely loyal friend.
“He’s that guy you can call. Say last night I was stuck. No matter how long it’s been he’d come and get me,” Ludovico said.
Gov. Ned Lamont tweeted this morning “Last night a lineman was fatally injured during the storm. This is a reminder of the danger these men and women face on our behalf. While many are still out there working today, please join me in acknowledging them and sending our thoughts to this person’s family.”
Eversource released a statement that said “Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones at this time.”
On Facebook, Middletown Mayor Dan Drew made a post that said, in part, “The men and women who work to get our power back on do an extraordinarily difficult and dangerous job and in often unpleasant conditions. We owe them out gratitude and to this person, our deepest appreciation and sympathy.”