IBEW Local 1 hosts holiday giving program for families in the justice system


Electrical Connection supports event with $2,500 donation

MAKING HOLIDAY POSSIBLE, IBEW Local 1 Business Manager Frank Jacobs (second from left) and Electrical Connection Executive Vice President Jim Curran (fourth from left) present a $2,500 check to representatives of a holiday giving program for families in the justice system sponsored by the United States District Court Eastern District of Missouri, Probation Division. Accepting the generous donation is U.S. Courts Community Resource Specialist Clark Porter (left) U.S. Probation Officer Daniel Dixon (center) and Supervising U.S. Probation Officer Lisa White (right). – Compass Communications photo

Like many charity events, the pandemic threatened a traditional holiday giving program for families in the justice system sponsored by the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Missouri, Probation Division. Normally, families would gather at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in the Central West End for festive gift giving, but a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases made that impossible.

Then, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 stepped up and offered to host the Dec. 16 event and adapt it to conform to social distancing and mask protocols. And through its Electrical Connection partnership with the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), it also donated $2,500 to support the holiday gift giving program.

Chief U.S. Probation Officer Scott A. Anders said event organizers were scrambling in search of a larger and more convenient space to hold the program so families could drive up and receive free turkeys and other gifts for the holidays.

“IBEW Business Manager Frank Jacobs came up with an extremely generous solution by donating the use of its union hall and large parking area to make our holiday giving event a success,” Anders said. “And the IBEW/NECA Electrical partnership’s financial contribution further supports our traditional holiday program to strengthen the families we serve. We are grateful for their tremendous support.”

In all, more than 60 families in the justice system were served as a stream of cars pulled up at the union hall at 5850 Elizabeth Ave. Volunteers from the U.S. Probation Office and IBEW brought out the gifts and turkeys stored at the union hall. 

“IBEW and NECA did what it has done throughout the pandemic – it adapted to serve the community,” said Jim Curran, Electrical Connection executive vice president, noting that adjacent to the union hall is the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center. “In combination with IBEW/NECA’s generosity, the proximity of the training center could inspire a career path for families in the justice system.”

The Electrical Connection has supported the U.S. Probation Officers’ holiday giving program for the past three years.

The event is part of the U.S Probation Office’s Project Re-Direct, an innovative approach to rehabilitation. It is an intense seven-month program led by Rebecca Bledsoe and Clark E. Porter, MSW, an ex-felon himself, who is now a program support specialist for United States District Court Eastern District of Missouri.

The program offers substance abuse treatment, community service, employment assistance and support for ex-offenders to reduce recidivism and reorient their lives to give greater purpose beneficial to society. Learn more about Porter and Project Re-Direct in this video, youtube.com/watch?v=uKsdAQqj0I4.

Members of the Electrical Connection provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world. For more information visit electricalconnection.org.


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