By TIM ROWDEN
Pine Lawn – The faulty electrical wiring in Willie B. Lark’s home was a hazard, but IBEW Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractor’s Association (NECA) stepped in to make it safe as part of the annual Rebuilding Together – St. Louis campaign.
This is the 10th year in a row that IBEW and NECA, which partner to form the St. Louis Electrical Connection, have helped Rebuilding Together improve low-income homes in St. Louis.
Lark, who is 87, couldn’t get insurance on her home because the wiring was so bad, her daughter, Diane Campbell said.
Local 1 electricians and contractors working through the Electrical Connection changed that.
“It was wonderful,” Campbell said. “We needed the work done to bring everything up to code.”
Since 2003, the Electrical Connection has supported Rebuilding Together, donating more than $600,000 in labor and materials to improve 375 homes for elderly and low-income St. Louisans.
“The effort by IBEW/NECA and the Electrical Connection is invaluable to correcting life safety issues that plague low-income homes in our region,” said Dave Ervin, executive director of Rebuilding Together – St. Louis.
“Local 1 has been at our side for over a decade, and has provided essential electrical repairs to hundreds of homeowners.” Ervin said.
Rebuilding Together brings together the volunteer community and organized labor to provide free home repairs for the low-income, elderly and disabled so they can continue to live independently in comfort and safety.
Rebuilding Together – St. Louis also renews neighborhoods by rebuilding community centers, playgrounds and other community projects.
Each year, Rebuilding Together organizes a Rebuilding Day, when hundreds of volunteers fan out across the region to make minor home repairs in the Metro St. Louis area.
Working through the Electrical Connection, Local 1 continues that effort throughout the year, utilizing unemployed IBEW electricians, who are paid through the Electrical Connection, to do the needed work.
“It gives our unemployed members a chance to make a little money and give back to the community,” said Local 1 Business Representative Dave Roth, who coordinates the efforts.
“We’re saving lives and making homes safe and secure,” Roth said. “It’s a good cause.”
For more information on Rebuilding Together – St. Louis, visit http://www.rebuildingtogether-stl.org/.
For information on the Electrical Connection, including home electrical safety tips and a list of qualified union contractors, visit www.electricalconnection.org.