Unions helping ready POW-MIA Museum

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PAYING TRIBUTE TO POW-MIAs, the Electrical Connection, a partnership between IBEW Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) is donating labor and materials for new emergency lighting and exit signs at the new POW-MIA Museum at Jefferson Barracks. Pictured are (from left) IBEW Local 1 Business Representative Dave Roth, Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum Board Member Art Schuermann, Museum Treasurer Ken Kennedy, Museum President Paul Dillon and Schaeffer Electric Company Electrician and IBEW Local 1 member Kenny Wright. – Labor Tribune photo
PAYING TRIBUTE TO POW-MIAs, the Electrical Connection, a partnership between IBEW Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) is donating labor and materials for new emergency lighting and exit signs at the new POW-MIA Museum at Jefferson Barracks. Pictured are (from left) IBEW Local 1 Business Representative Dave Roth, Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum Board Member Art Schuermann, Museum Treasurer Ken Kennedy, Museum President Paul Dillon and Schaeffer Electric Company Electrician and IBEW Local 1 member Kenny Wright. – Labor Tribune photo

South St. Louis County – The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1 and Bricklayers Local 1 are saying thank you to the men and women who served in our military, were held in captivity and whose fate is unknown by helping to renovate and upgrade an historic building at Jefferson Barracks to house the new Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum.

IBEW Local 1, through the Electrical Connection – a partnership between IBEW Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Conractors Association (NECA) – is providing a free inspection, work estimate and installation of 10 new combination exit/emergency lights and two standalone emergency lights for the 115-year old museum building – an old officers’ quarters that was originally built in 1898.

IBEW Local 1 and Schaeffer Electric are doing the work and the Electrical Connection is footing the roughly $3,000 bill for the project.

“All of the materials are being donated by the Electrical Connection, and IBEW and Schaeffer Electric will do the work,” said Dave Roth, business representative for IBEW Local 1. “It’s our way of giving back to these men and women, and the memories of these men and women, who gave so much.”

Bricklayers Local 1 is providing labor to do needed tuckpointing and other restoration work.

“They’re going to provide the material and we’re going to provide the labor,” Business representative Brian Jennewein said. “There’s quite a bit to do.”

HELPING A RETIREE AND A VETERAN

IBEW LOCAL 1 electricians (from left) Tom Lindsley and Kenny Wright, of Schaeffer Electric Company, install one of 10 combination exit signs/emergency lighting units at the new POW-MIA Museum at Jefferson Barracks.  – Labor Tribune photo
IBEW LOCAL 1 electricians (from left) Tom Lindsley and Kenny Wright, of Schaeffer Electric Company, install one of 10 combination exit signs/emergency lighting units at the new POW-MIA Museum at Jefferson Barracks. – Labor Tribune photo

The Electrical Connection became involved in the project following a phone call from retired electrician Ken Kennedy, a U.S. Navy veteran and longtime IBEW Local 1 member who had worked for Frost Electric.

Kennedy is treasurer of the non-profit Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum, Inc., which includes representatives and volunteers from the Missouri AMVETS, the Missouri American Legion, the Missouri Veterans Commission, the Missouri Department of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, the Missouri AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary, the Missouri Air Force Association, and the Missouri Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“I knew from my past experience with the union and with Frost Electric that this would be a project that the union guys would really grab ahold of and go forward with,” Kennedy said.

OTHER UNIONS GETTING INVOLVED

In addition to IBEW Local 1 and Bricklayers Local 1, organizers have also reached out to and are in discussions with the carpenters, painters, plasterers and plumbers to complete other repairs and renovations needed to get the museum ready for a May 1 ribbon cutting.

“We’re getting multiple varieties of support and they’ve all been very easy and cooperative to work with,” said Art Schuermann, a U.S. Air Force veteran and member of the museum’s board of directors who is serving as project manager for the repair and renovation efforts. “We’re supported by a bunch of veterans organizations and a whole lot of St. Louis people, and we’re really thrilled with the support we’ve gotten from the unions. It’s certainly valuable to us in trying to get this place off the ground.”

AN HISTORIC BUILDING

Located in the Old 1898 Officers’ Quarters Building at 16-18 Hancock Road, in the Jefferson Barracks Historic District. The structure, up until August 2008, had housed Missouri’s Civilian Conservation Corps Museum. The 115-year-old building has undergone various renovations over the years, leaving it with a questionable patchwork of old and new fixtures and wiring.

Organizers hope to get the first floor of the two-storey building ready in time to host a reunion May 1 for survivors of Stalag 17B, a one of the most notorious World War II German prisoner-of-war camps, near Krems, Austria.

The Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum, Inc. is currently raising funds for the museum design, repairs and renovations, as it enters into a long-term lease agreement with St. Louis County, owners of the Old 1898 Officers’ Quarters Building.

To donate to the museum, contact the Jefferson Barracks POW-MIA Museum Fundraising Committee Public Relations Officer Pat Kessler at 314-655-8816, or  email sistermailmo@yahoo.com.

To find out more about the project, visit http://jbpow-mia.org.

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