When IBEW 1245 leaders and members learned about fellow IBEW member Brady Hansen’s program to provide much-needed safety training and supplies to linemen in the impoverished South American country of Suriname, they felt compelled to do all that they can to support Hansen’s effort.
The union immediately decided to begin collecting tools and safety equipment to donate to the Surinamese linemen, who work in treacherous conditions without any of the protective gear that American linemen take for granted. For more than six months, Local 1245 members at PG&E, SMUD and NV Energy have been partnering with their employers to gather all the supplies they could possibly collect in order to make a grand donation to the Surinamese.
“Sharing supplies and knowledge with the Surinamese linemen is the right thing to do,” said Pat Waite, Local 1245 business representative who represents worked at NV Energy. “I’m really proud we have partnered with this program.”
On July 21, union staff and members loaded up the donated supplies into shipping containers at the PG&E Fresno materials warehouse and prepared them to be sent to Suriname. The shipment included 300 pairs of EH rated boots from PG&E which were nearly new. PG&E lineman and grass roots leader Fred Cincera got the company’s safety glasses manufacturer to donate more than 1,000 pairs of new safety glasses.
While everyone made a concerted effort to pitch in, the members and management at PG&E went above and beyond.
“This could not have happened without the tremendous support of PG&E senior leadership and the PG&E Ergo Committee, made up of our members,” noted IBEW 1245 Assistant Business Manager Bob Gerstle.
This mass donation is just the first part of the union’s effort to support Hansen’s program in Suriname. This fall, a delegation from IBEW 1245, including Adam Weber and Samson Wilson from NV Energy, Anthony Albright from PG&E, Carl Keehn from SMUD, Outside Lineman James Scott and union staffers Bob Gerstle, Ralph Kenyon, Rich Lane and Abel Sanchez will be travelling on a mission to Suriname to serve as instructors at the Lineman School that Hansen has set up there.