Farmington, MO – As the only no-kill pet adoption shelter serving six counties just south of St. Louis, the Farmington Pet Adoption Center helps hundreds of animals each year. But providing lifesaving care and treatment from such a large geographic area was becoming more challenging in the aging building sheltering the animals.
“The heating and cooling system in the shelter was outdated, inefficient and costly,” said Jim Bilhorn, an adoption center volunteer. “We had a plan to modernize the system with two heat pumps, but it required major improvements to our electrical infrastructure that we just couldn’t afford.”
That all changed when Bilhorn met IBEW Local 1 Business Representative Lee Asher. Asher noted that many IBEW members and retirees live in the Farmington area and were familiar with the history and the needs of adoption center.
“I contacted IBEW Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs, and we came up with a plan to leverage our Electrical Connection labor-management partnership to help,” Asher said.
The Electrical Connection, a partnership of IBEW Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), organized a team of IBEW Local 1 members to upgrade the wiring and circuits at the center to support the heat pumps.
The group, who donated 50 hours of service, included Local 1 retirees Wyman Nash and Kevin Pettus, journeymen Mike Gilliam, Matt Psalmonds and Chris Pipkin, and apprentice Nick Haney. Farmington-based NECA contractor Meier Electric Co. also lent a hand in the project.
‘EXTRAORDINARY COMMUNITY SERVICE’
“The IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection partnership provided an extraordinary community service to the Farmington Pet Adoption Center,” said Bilhorn. “It was a significant electrical upgrade, and we have the peace of mind knowing that the IBEW/NECA team delivered all the installations in accordance with the National Electrical Code.”
The donated electrical services allow Bilhorn to focus on other operational improvements through a year-long $30,000 fundraising campaign. The adoption center is primarily funded through donations and its Second Chance Resale Store. To donate to the adoption center visit farmingtonpet.org.
No matter what the economic conditions, the need to care for and find homes for pets never ends, Bilhorn said. Pets are often dropped off anonymously at the center, and sometimes it’s a single pet or a litter of puppies that a pet owner simply could not take care of.
“Things happen in people’s lives – they lose their job, they get older or become incapacitated in some way – and they simply don’t have the ability to care for their pets,” he said. “That’s what we’re here for.”
The Electrical Connection has been supporting the Farmington community for more than 25 years. It is best known for its annual donation to the Farmington “Shop with a Cop” program. The partnership has donated more than $65,000 to the holiday giving program since 1993.