An anonymous phone call from a concerned friend, led IBEW Local 1 to deliver an unexpected Christmas gift last week to a disabled Vietnam veteran living in a South County home without heat.
The man, who asked that his name not be used, suffered an electrical fire at his home last summer that left he and his wife and their four grandchildren without heat or power to their hot water heater and stove.
Because he is on a limited income, the man was unable to pay for repairs.
IBEW Local 1 stepped in, providing new wiring and a new electrical panel for the home free of charge.
“Somebody he knows called and said this vet is in trouble. He has no heat,” IBEW Local 1 Business Representative David Roth said, adding the IBEW Local 1 union electricians often volunteer for programs like Habitat for Humanity through the Electrical Connection.
The Electrical Connection is a partnership of IBEW Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
“We do volunteer work all through the year. It’s usually on a larger scale, like Habitat for Humanity,” Roth said. “But we do little jobs, too. We do about six a year of just single-family dwellings.
“This one was special, because he’s a disabled veteran,” Roth said. “He needed heat and we, fortunately, were in a position to help.”
For the man and his family, grateful to have heat, hot water and a working stove, it’s a gift they plan to pass on to others.
“I slept comfortably last night for the first time in months,” the man said. “They did a great job. I’m still kind of overwhelmed and amazed by it. I don’t know how it happened, but I want to pass along the good fortune to other people any time I’m capable. I’m just really grateful for what happened here.”