Utilities in the Mid-Atlantic region have brought in thousands of out-of-state workers, some from as far away as Canada, to help restore power to the millions of people affected by violent storms with near-hurricane-force winds.

Workers on the out-of-state crews say the extra money is nice, but they also do it for the satisfaction of helping out their counterparts in other areas and providing an essential service.

On Tuesday, more than five-dozen workers from Pensacola, Fla.-based Gulf Power gathered at a hotel in Leesburg before driving out to repair downed power lines in the area. Their nearly 1,000-mile trip to northern Virginia with a convoy of 20 trucks took 2 days.

Ed Orenduff is a retired Dominion employee who's supervising some of the out-of-state crews. He says their help is the difference between restoring power to everyone in a matter of days instead of a matter of weeks.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)