IBEW Local 1, St. Louis Electrical Connection rescue single mom’s dream of home ownership

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TURNING DREAMS INTO REALITY: Erika Williamson (center) said she was grateful to IBEW Local 1 and the St. Louis Electrical Connection for their help in bringing her first home up to code. The group took a break from their work on the house in North St. Louis County on Friday to pose for a photo. From left to right: IBEW Local 1 Business Business Representative Dave Roth; Stacey Brody, one of Williamson’s co-workers; Williamson; and electricians Tim Blackwell and Mark Callahan. – Labor Tribune photo

BY SHERI GASSAWAY

Correspondent

Dellwood, MO – Erika Williamson’s future is looking bright thanks to a helping hand from IBEW Local 1 and the St. Louis Electrical Connection.

Last November, the 37-year-old anesthesia technician took ownership of her first home in North St. Louis County just east of Dellwood. Williamson knew it would need a lot of work before she was able to move in.

So between working full time and taking care of her three-year-old son, she slowly began making repairs. And then, the home was vandalized and burglarized – not once, but several times.

Among other things, the central air-conditioning unit had been stolen with wires left dangling and all the copper wiring had been removed from the house. That’s when one of Williamson’s co-workers reached out to IBEW Local 1 for help.

LOCAL 1 TO THE RESCUE

Tim Blackwell
ENSURING SAFETY: Tim Blackwell, an IBEW Local 1 electrician, checks an outdoor motion light that may need to need to be rewired on Williamson’s home. – Labor Tribune photo

Dave Roth, Local 1 business representative, and electricians Tim Blackwell and Mark Callahan, visited the home on Friday. The electricians performed their visual inspections and then began work to bring the house up to code.

In addition to repeated burglaries and vandalism at the home, Williamson has been faced with vacancy fines and back taxes. She said she was grateful for Local 1’s help and expertise.

“What they are doing for me is awesome,” Williamson said. “They are doing a really great job, and it’s just truly a blessing.”

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LENDING A HAND

Roth said Local 1 and the St. Louis Electrical Connection would provide all the electrical work needed for the home, including the installation of a wire feed for an electric stove and all new light switches, receptacles and GFIs. He said his electricians would also correct any existing electrical problems.

“We’re always happy to lend a hand,” Roth said. “It’s a good feeling to be able to give back to our community.”

Williamson, who works at Depaul Hospital in Bridgeton, received the home from a co-worker’s family member who wanted to donate it to a single parent. It was in need of many repairs and still contained most of the furniture from the previous owner.

HELPING FRIENDS

Erika Williamson
TRULY A BLESSING: While tearing down a shed in the backyard, Erika Williamson said IBEW Local 1’s and the St. Louis Electrical Connection’s work on her new home was truly a blessing. – Labor Tribune photo

Stacey Brody and Karen Lightfoot, surgical nurses who have worked with Williamson for years, have been helping her clear out the house and make minor repairs. Brody helped Williamson remove a shed in the backyard on Friday while the electricians were working.

“Erika is an excellent worker,” Brody said. “She always comes in with a smile on her face, but she is a very private person. It wasn’t until recently that she opened up to us, and we realized how dire the situation was.”

Brody said she and her co-workers have been collecting donations, furniture and other household items for Williamson. She added that a group of 15-to-20 hospital employees were scheduled to come out over the weekend to work on the house.

“We are planning to surprise Erika and have the home completely furnished and move-in ready for her and her son by Nov. 7,” Brody said. “And we could never have afforded to do that without Local 1’s help with the electrical work.”

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