November 2010

Letters to the Editor
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Loss, Renewal and Brotherhood

Editor's Note: Read on for an e-mail exchange between a member who lost it all during Hurricane Katrina, and the brother whose gift allowed him to get his life back.

Following is an e-mail that I sent to Brother Gary Buresh from the Seventh District, thanking him for a favor that will never be forgotten and his response to that e-mail. I feel that his kindness should be recognized and that the word should be spread about what belonging to union really means.

Warren Duvieilh
Local 130 member, New Orleans, La.

Dear Brother Buresh,

You probably don't remember me, but I spoke with you back in September 2005. I called the Seventh District to get information on the relief fund set up by the International, for members who were affected by Hurricane Katrina. At the time of the hurricane, my family and I lived in Violet, La., and lost everything we owned. I also lost my job because the company I worked for (Gulf-Best Electric) for over 29 years was destroyed in the storm and the owner decided not to reopen. My family and I temporarily relocated to Plano, Texas, and that is when I contacted you at the Seventh District.

I will never forget the first question you asked me in our conversation. You asked if we had place to stay, and then offered your home if we needed it. The second question you asked was if we needed anything to eat, clothing, or any other necessities. Fortunately, the good people of Plano made sure we were well taken care of. It was the third question that you asked that made me write to you. You asked if I lost my tools, and I told you that I did. You then told me to go to Local 20 in Dallas the next morning. I did as you asked, and I met with the assistant business manager, Ruben Kirk. He informed me that there was a package for me and handed me a box with your tool pouch in it. It brought a tear to my eyes to think you would give the tools that you once used to feed your family with to a brother in need.

I am writing to let you know how much your kind deed affected my family and I. We returned to the New Orleans area in December of 2005, and I took a job with Templet Consultants. I was able to go back to work using your tools and also start rebuilding our lives. Your tools helped rebuild many of the drawbridges along the Gulf Coast. In 2007, I was laid off from Templet Consultants, and I was offered a job with Bluewater Electric, where I am still employed at the present time. I am still using your tools every day to earn a living and not a day goes by without me thinking about the kindness that you showed for a brother in need. Every chance I get I still share the story with brother members and many others about the tools that are in my bag. You really showed what brotherhood is about and what true unionism really means.

We purchased a new home north of New Orleans in 2006 and are all settled in to our new lives and really love it here. Sorry it took so long for a formal thank you, but it has been a long hard journey and surely we would not be where we are now if not for people like you. We have met some truly wonderful and caring people in the process of rebuilding our lives, and you are one of them at the top of the list. Hope this letter brightens your day as your kindness has brightened our lives. Keep up the good work and hopefully stories like this will be passed on to the next generation of IBEW members, so they too can continue the true meaning of belonging to a union.

Warren Duvieilh


Thank you for the kind words. Yes I do remember you and I am glad to hear that you and your family are safe and doing well.

I was a little taken aback and humbled by what you said. You and your family are the ones who have suffered and endured circumstances that I am not sure I can ever understand. That I was able to help in some small way can never compare to what you must have gone through. It makes me proud to belong to the same brotherhood that you do. I shared your words with my wife and I think we both had tears in our eyes at your kind words.

That you and your family have been able to rebuild your lives allows us to share in that a little bit.

For that I thank you and wish you continued success. Perhaps one day we shall get down to New Orleans and I promise to look you up so that we can meet face to face. Until then take care.

Gary Buresh
Seventh District International Representative, Arlington, Texas

New Orleans Local 130 member Warren Duvieilh