Elevator Constructors Local 3 member Tim Padfield swept away in floodwaters, presumed drowned

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Otis Elevator hosted fundraiser Thursday, July 18, to help family

BY TIM ROWDEN
Editor

The tragic impact of this year’s flooding continues to be felt by union members and their families.

Tim Padfield, a 35-year member of Elevator Constructors Local 3, was swept away and presumed drowned Sunday, June 2, when floodwaters created a 100-foot-wide breach in the Pin Oak Levee that protects a section of Winfield, about an hour’s drive north of St. Louis.

Padfield owns a farm in Winfield and was at the property moving equipment to higher ground when the levee breached, his wife, Nat Padfield, said. “I had talked with him that evening; we talked for 11 minutes,” she said. “He told me he felt like they had misjudged the water levels out there. He wanted to secure the truck and other things so they didn’t get damaged. I told him to call me when he was done, but he never called.”

Nat Padfield said she tried calling him every hour that night, thinking maybe he had gone to bed and forgotten to call. By 6:30 a.m., she had begun to fear the worst.

ELEVATOR CONSTRUCTORS LOCAL 3 member Tim Padfield, was swept away and presumed drowned when the Pin Oak Levee breached on June 2, flooding his property and many others in Winfield, MO.

Nat said Tim was back at the house, which was on higher ground, when she talked to him. His wallet, cards and blood pressure medicine were found on the kitchen table. The bottle containing his blood pressure medicine was full of water, and there were muddy footprints in the house.

For some reason, maybe because he remembered something else he wanted to secure, he went back outside.

Master Sgt. Charles Bowles, Missouri State Highway Patrol Marine Division, told her Tim was probably caught off guard when the levee broke.

“We don’t’ know why he went back outside,” she said. “Once that levee breeched, Sgt. Bowles said there was five and a half feet of water in the barn.”

Several agencies have searched the area using helicopters, boats, drones and sonar, but to no avail.

Tim Padfield would have been 61 on July 2.

Local 3 Business Manager John Orr said with Tim still missing, Nat can’t access his pension or death benefits.

THE FIRST FLOOD ASSISTANCE CHECKS from the Missouri AFL-CIO’s newly formed Missouri Working Families Relief Fund, an assistance program for union members affected by the flooding across the state, were presented last week by Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis (left) and St. Louis Labor Council President Pat White (right) to Operating Engineers Local 513 President/Business Manager Tim Sappington (second from left) and Iron Workers Local 396 Business Manager Tom McNeil (second from right) to help two of their members in need. – St. Louis Labor Council photo

Orr said members have donated and are working to raise money for the family and he has been in touch with the Missouri AFL-CIO’s Working Families Relief Fund, established last month to help union families in need impacted by this year’s flooding and tornadoes.

“We’ve raised money from the membership, and we’ve got some other things were trying to do for them,” Orr said. “But in the meantime, his weekly income is missing. It’s a dirty shame.

“He was a good guy,” Orr said. “We’re a small local, only 330 members. So we’re all feeling this.”

Otis Elevator, Tim’s employer, hosted a fundraiser on Thursday, July 18.

“A lot of the guys that he worked with have reached out letting me know if there’s anything they can do,” Nat Padfield said. “I just can’t believe this is happening. His lunch box is still here with the snacks he had bought for the next week.”

Make a donation to the Missouri Working Families Relief Fund or apply for assistance

This flooding and tornadoes have impacted working families across the state. In response, the Missouri AFL-CIO has created a Missouri Working Families Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to union families who have had their lives turned upside down and help them begin the process of recovery and rebuilding.

“We’ve had hundreds of families adversely affected by recently flooding, tornadoes and other catastrophes,” said Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO. “We’re doing as much as we can to help each and every one.

“As a Labor Movement, we know we’re strongest when we stand arm-in-arm. The Missouri Working Families Relief Fund creates an opportunity for union members to help other members during their time of need,” he said.

MAKE A DONATION
You can make an online donation to the fund https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/working-families-relief-fund?source=direct_link&, or make a check payable to “Missouri Working Families Relief Fund” and mail it to the Missouri AFL-CIO, Attn: Working Families Relief Fund, 227 Jefferson St., Jefferson City, MO 65101.

Donations will be distributed to the state’s Central Labor Councils in the form of gift cards to be disseminated by union locals or presented directly to individuals in need.

IF YOU NEED HELP
Members who have been affected by any of the recent flooding, tornadoes, or other catastrophes can contact their https://moaflcio.org/missouri-labor-councils to get assistance.

Or, members may contact Vickie Beck at the Missouri AFL-CIO office at 573-634-2115 or vbeck@moaflcio.org.

To speed the process, you can download and complete a request survey at https://moaflcio.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2019_07_08_13_37_40.pdf.

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