Texas Member Taken Hostage, Killed in Algeria
January 28, 2013
Victor Lovelady’s family members say he was a hero long before the project manager for a Houston-based energy firm was killed at an Algeria natural gas plant after being held hostage by Al Qaeda terrorists.
Mike Lovelady told the Port Arthur News his brother, a whiz with electronics, who was killed in January, would help elderly neighbors with their home repairs.
His daughter, Erin, told KFDM-TV Channel 6 News, “He was so laid back and understanding. I could have told him anything.”
In the numerous news reports about Lovelady, one fact remained obscured. Victor Lovelady, 57, was a journeyman inside wireman, a second-generation member of Beaumont, Texas, Local 479. The 34-year member had not only exemplified excellence in the trade, he assisted in apprenticeship training.
International Representative David Gonzales, a former Local 479 business manager, says:
I traveled with Victor to Austin for work in the early 90s. He was extremely well-versed in control and instrumentation and relocated to Houston a few years ago. It’s sad that he took a job in Africa that called for him to work 28 days, followed by 28 days home with his family to spend time with them only to be killed by terrorists.
Gonzales says Lovelady’s father, Dewey, and his uncle, Huey, were both members of Local 479.
A native of Nederland, Texas, Lovelady was working for BP subcontractor ENGlobal Corporation, to inspect the plant, run by Algeria’s state oil company in cooperation with foreign firms.
Thirty-seven hostages, including two other Americans, were killed at the plant. The FBI is still investigating.
Lovelady’s family was notified that he had survived the first attempt by Algerian special forces to free the hostages. He was killed during a second attempt, 10 days after returning to the complex after a visit home.
Terrorists who attacked the facility offered to release Lovelady and another American, Gordon Lee Rowan, in return for freeing two terror suspects held in the U.S., one of whom, Omar Abdel Rahman, was believed to be the spiritual leader of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The Obama administration rejected the offer.
Mike Lovelady told CNN he was angry that the Algerian government had not called upon U.S. Navy SEALs or Britain’s Special Air Service commandos to take out the militants while sparing the hostages.
Erin Lovelady, a teacher and softball coach in Longview, told CNN she expected her father to return home after getting word that he had survived the first rescue attempt. The family was planning a month-long trip to Belize, she told FuelFix.com.
Her father was emotionally strong and nearly always remained calm during crises. She said:
He wouldn’t be the person who is crying and screaming and begging.
Victor Lovelady also leaves behind his wife, Maureen, and son Grant, a student at Texas State University in San Marcos.
In a letter to Victor Lovelady’s spouse, International President Edwin D. Hill said:
The IBEW will always be grateful for Victor Lovelady’s service as our member. He not only promoted excellence in our trade; he mentored others to follow his example. We are thinking of you in your mourning and we hope for the day when men of character like your husband can live out their days without facing the cowardly violence of terrorism.
An account has been established to help Victor Lovelady’s family. Donations may be sent to:
Victor Lovelady Account
Five Point Credit Union
P.O. Box 1366
Nederland, Texas 77627