The Electrical Worker online
June 2014

Pride and Generosity:
Raffle Nets Thousands for Veterans Group
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Members attending the 2014 Broadcasting, Manufacturing and Telecommunications Conference in Connecticut in late April loudly applauded after hearing from George Farrell, a retired fire chief who coordinates Rhode Island's "honor flights" program.

Farrell encouraged attendees to purchase raffle tickets at the conference to help fund the program that provides free transportation to World War II veterans to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Thousands of veterans, many of whom suffer from terminal diseases and disabling conditions, have made the trip.

The raffle offered ticket purchasers the chance to win a large quilt fabricated from T-shirts provided by manufacturing locals. The quilt was produced by Teresa Ekstein, a 41-year member of Lincoln, Neb., Local 2366. The "Tapestry of Solidarity" was the subject of a February story on

"I was speechless," says IBEW Manufacturing Department Director Randy Middleton, who expected to present a few thousand dollars to Farrell.

Conference attendees bought $13,000 worth of the $10 tickets. Then Hartford, Conn., Local 42 and Boston, Mass., Local 104 announced that they would donate $10,000 each to the proceeds.

"The generosity of our members," says Middleton, "makes me so proud to be an IBEW member."

Farrell, who attended the reception where the winning ticket was pulled, said:

"You never know what to expect when you ask for support for Honor Flights. The IBEW's participation was incredible. It was an overwhelming experience for me and Steve Hay, one of the Honor Flight organizers. We were inspired by the members who came up at the reception and supported not just our program, but America's veterans."


New York Local 3 member Cesar Perez, center in yellow shirt, won the T-shirt quilt raffle that netted $33,000 for World War II veterans to visit Washington. He's pictured with children Christen and Carina, and co-workers, including Business Rep. Anthony Esponda (second from left), a member of IBEW's product ID team.