150 IBEW Local 1 electricians, 22 NECA contractors volunteer for one-day blitz
By SHERI GASSAWAY
Fifteen St. Louis city and county residents received some much-needed electrical repairs and updates to their homes April 24 thanks to the Electrical Connection, a partnership between IBEW Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
A team of 150 Local 1 electricians and 22 NECA contractors donated their time, trucks and tools for the 18th Annual Rebuilding Together St. Louis event, providing free electrical improvements for elderly and disabled low-income homeowners. Last year’s event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
STABILIZING LIVES AND COMMUNITIES
“While everyone has struggled during the pandemic, it has been especially hard for those who do not have the means or ability to make home repairs themselves,” said Frank Jacobs, Local 1 business manager.
“Our workforce and contractors believe it’s important to help stabilize lives and communities, especially after such a challenging year.”
MAKING A BIG DIFFERENCE
James Price was one of the homeowners who received a visit from the Local 1 electricians. The 67-year-old retired welder has lived in the 1900 block of Cora Avenue in The Greater Ville neighborhood in St. Louis for 15 years.
Price says he’s tried keeping up with repairs over the years, but it’s difficult on a fixed income. Volunteers added electrical outlets, repaired ceiling fans and installed an outdoor light on the back patio.
“Not having a light in back is a fall issue,” Price said. “These folks are making a big difference, and I’m very appreciative of their help.”
‘IT FEELS GOOD TO GIVE BACK’
Clarence Cosby, a five-year Local 1 member who works for Sachs Electric, assisted with the repairs and updates to Price’s home.
“I enjoy helping out,” he said. “It feels good to give back to the community.”
Chris Clermont, a Local 1 business representative and organizer, helped plan this year’s event along with Dave Roth, also a Local 1 business representative and the union’s financial secretary.
“Dave did a lot of the legwork for the event, and it turned out well,” Clermont said. “It’s all about helping people in need, and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
‘A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE’
Jessica Klostermann, Rebuilding Together’s program director, said she was grateful for the Electrical Connection’s help. The organization provides free home repairs to low-income homeowners and veterans in need so they may remain safely and comfortably in their own homes.
“This is just phenomenal,” Klostermann said, looking at the roomful of volunteer electricians at the Local 1 Hall on April 24. “A lot of these homeowners feel forgotten, and it makes a world of difference to them to have these men and women lend their expertise.”
Since 2003, the Electrical Connection has donated labor and more than $880,000 in materials to improve 555 homes for low-income, disabled and elderly St. Louisans.