| Who We Are
|In Albuquerque, IBEW is a Family Affair|
In December, four Beebes stepped to the front of Albuquerque, N.M., Local 611's hall to take their oaths before their union brothers and sisters.
Pledging to "bear true allegiance" to the IBEW that night were Lloyd Beebe and Rita Solano Beebe, who met 25 years ago in Local 611's apprenticeship program, and their two sons, apprentices Waylon, 22, and Bo.
Earlier that evening, Bo, 18, had taken his oath with his fellow first-year apprentices, but Local 611 President Ruben Romero thought something more was needed for the family that had given so much to the union.
"The IBEW is filled with families like the Beebes," Romero said, "but they were all there that night, and I thought it would be a shame if we weren't able to recognize them. I asked them to renew their oaths together later in the meeting because it's such a blessing to have generations of members who share in this Brotherhood."
Lloyd, a 26-year journeyman wireman, was a second-year apprentice doing some tutoring at the JATC the night he met Rita Solano, a first-year attending class. "We started talking that night and the rest is history," Rita said.
Romero remembers working as a dispatcher when the two stopped by the hall the day of their wedding. "They'd both been my apprentices, so I took off a little early because I wanted to be there," he said. On the way, he stopped to pick up a 24-exposure disposable camera. Rita's mom was there too, with a fancy 35mm camera snapping away, but Romero remembers the couple being crushed after discovering that she'd mistakenly left the lens cap on.
"Who'd have thought my little disposable camera pictures would mean the world to them, but I think those are the only photos they have of their wedding day," Romero remembered, laughing.
When Waylon came along, "I knew he'd be a wireman right away," Romero said. "They bought him little Carhartt overalls. It was meant to be."
"He learned to walk in our old union hall," Rita said of the couple's eldest son. "We were always involved in the union because we had great journeymen who taught us that was how it was supposed to be." The two participated in every parade and community service project the local did, and it wasn't long before Rita ran for executive board.
Over the years, Rita has served three times on the executive board and done a term as recording secretary, while Lloyd has been on the executive board and served as treasurer and as a delegate to the 2016 international convention in St. Louis. He also worked for 11 years as a business representative and assistant business manager.
For Lloyd, the IBEW was already a family affair. His father, Elmer Beebe, is a 54-year member of Local 611, as is his brother, Tim. Brother Stewart Beebe is a member of Charleston, W.Va., Local 466.
Now, he and Rita are still giving back to the local, serving as mentors to the RENEW/NextGen program, in which both of their sons are active members. The group, chartered last August, organized its first major service project at Albuquerque's Roadrunner Food Bank in March.
Tracy Hall, a Local 611 retiree, says the Beebes are the first all-IBEW family he can remember. "There are a lot of families in the union, but this one is unique," he said.
On the night four years ago when Waylon took his oath, his grandfather, Elmer, was there to receive his 50-year pin. On Bo's oath night in December, Rita received her 25-year recognition.
"It's special to be able to share that moment with members of your family," Waylon said. "My brother Bo and I grew up in the union, going to worker rallies in Santa Fe, even trying to organize nonunion contractors, and our parents always made sure we knew why we were doing what we were doing. For us to be a part of the IBEW now on our own is pretty exciting."