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February 2016

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Congrats, Dad!

I would like to publicly congratulate my father for receiving his 50-year union pin in 2015. Although he is retired now, he worked hard many years to achieve this goal.

My parents married young and worked hard to provide for my brother and I. Neither of them had the opportunity to go to college, but they made sure we did. We both received master's degrees. My brother is the Polk, County, Fla., economic development director and I am a children's librarian in Naples, Fla.

As a child, I remember my dad bundled up in layers of warm clothes and a Carhartt jacket in winter, his green thermos filled with coffee. In summer, he sweated outside or inside when he worked in extreme temperatures at the blast furnace in the steel mill. It took me a while to figure out that the "coke plant" was not Coca Cola!

Dad never wanted to be "on the bench" when work slowed down and often volunteered for overtime when it was offered. I don't remember him ever taking a sick day. He was a man's man.

On the weekends, he kept busy with fix-it projects around the house, at his workbench in the basement or in the garage. He took pride in his well-kept lawn and freshly washed car. As kids, one of the highlights of our summers was the annual IBEW picnic held at Sauzer's Kiddieland.

The Gary and Hammond, Ind., Local 697 credit union was beneficial to our family. It helped me finance my first car, $50 a month for a used 1972 Cutlass Salon.

As my father has aged, I'm finally hearing stories and more details about his working days. The guys used to have lunch at Mehilo's Pub, where they could purchase needed supplies like work gloves and even cash their paychecks.

My dad is now a satisfied retiree. He's proud of his well-earned pension, is in good health and lives in Florida. He's sad when he hears one of his union brothers has died, but remains optimistic for the future. He is still a tough guy that doesn't talk about his feelings much, but I've never seen him happier.

Unfortunately, he was in the process of moving, so he wasn't able to travel back to Indiana to receive his 50-year pin in person. I want everyone to know how proud I am of my IBEW dad. If you look at our cars, you'll notice we both display the same license plate holders on our cars. "IBEW the Right Choice"!

Susan Petr, daughter of Otto J. Petr,
retired member of Gary and Hammond, Ind., Local 697
Naples, Fla.


Local 697 retiree Otto Petr, with daughter Susan

IBEW_Facebook  From Facebook: Every month the IBEW Facebook page receives thousands of comments from our dynamic and engaged community of members and friends.

Proud to be Union

I am a Local 46 retired wireman and very proud to have been a union electrician. I too enjoyed the work that I did and the many wiremen that I worked with and can call my friends. The benefits that I had while working and my IBEW pensions now enable me to enjoy life and all that it has to offer. Thanks to all and thanks to the IBEW for the rights we all deserve as working men and women that we have as union members!

I'm also very happy that my son has chosen to carry on in the electrical trade and is a Local 46 wireman. Spread the word that being a union wireman is a great life and something to be proud of!

Brad Purfeerst, Local 46 retiree
Seattle, Wash.

I have been retired for 14 years and I am grateful for the support of all of my brothers and sisters. We got to keep the Brotherhood going. Thank you, Local 150.

Chuck Beese, Local 150 retiree
Waukegan, Ill.

Work Safe

I've been a member of the IBEW since 1968 and have worked an awful lot of storms. Always remember: if it's not grounded, it's not dead. Please be safe.

Gene Nowicki, Local 702 member
Frankfort, Ill.