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December 2023

From the Officers
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The Joys of Giving Back

The holidays are a time for counting our blessings. And high on that list, after the people we cherish most, is the quality of life that IBEW wages, benefits and pensions provide for ourselves and our families, and the enduring bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood that are the core of our great union.

We're reminded of our good fortune often at this time of year, when the needs of others are so visible: Angel trees crowded with wishes from children who've never had their own brightly lit trees spilling over with gifts; lines around the block at food banks to feed people who won't be sitting down to festive dinners with all the trimmings and days of leftovers; coat, clothing and toy drives; and a bottomless list of other needs.

One of the greatest holiday joys is helping to meet those needs. And I couldn't be prouder to say that across the U.S. and Canada, IBEW locals, members and retirees give back to their communities on an epic scale.

During my years as business manager of West Frankfort Local 702 in my home state of Illinois, I remember how good it felt to adopt a family every Christmas. With members' donations, we filled gift lists that included the everyday necessities we take for granted — toothbrushes, socks and underwear, kitchen utensils, and so on. We also raised funds that were donated to schoolteachers to spend on coats and shoes for children in need. And the first week of December every year, we joined with fellow unions to make sure our communities' food pantries were well stocked for the holidays.

In fact, between Electrical Worker articles and the Local Lines section, you can read about big-heartedness in every issue — members wiring the homes of low-income families on a Saturday, fundraisers after natural disasters, Habitat for Humanity projects, supporting the United Way and its countless charities, even members traveling thousands of miles on their own dime to change lives, like the group of Canadian brothers and sisters who upgraded the electrical system at a Guatemalan orphanage this spring.

That's one of five wide-ranging stories of giving you'll find inside these pages, and I hope you feel as proud and inspired by them as I do.

The goodwill in our union is something to behold. It snowballs this time of year, but it is always abundant, just like the blessings of being part of the IBEW family. Sharing those blessings is a privilege, and I encourage all of you to do so, within your own means.

From my family to yours, I wish you happiness, joy and peace this special season and all seasons.


Also: Cooper: Celebrating Our Power Read Cooper's Column

Paul A. Noble

Paul A. Noble
International Secretary-Treasurer