NSUJL is turning 9 next week! We’ve been helping our brothers & sisters and their families since 2012. In honor of our birthday next week, we’d like to countdown with 9 fun facts about the organization. As an added bonus, we’ll be announcing a *super special one-of-a-kind giveaway* later this week!
Fun Fact #1: NSUJL was founded on January 26th, 2012 after a group of linewives realized a need in the line community for a non-profit supporting the families of fallen lineworkers. John Plante, IBEW Brother from LU 104, passed away just 10 days prior due to a tragic work-related accident; after an extensive search, no non-profit supporting the families of fallen lineworkers was found. So, NSUJL was formed to fill this need. Still today, we honor JP’s memory by offering a scholarship to appropriately-aged children of fallen lineworkers in his name.
Fun Fact #2: While several names were brought to the table in the early days of NSUJL’s formation, National Sisterhood United for Journeymen Linemen (aka NSUJL) ultimately took the most votes. However, we quickly became known as “The Sisterhood” or “The Sisterhood of Linemen”. But, do not let the name fool you! Many of you may be surprised to learn that the majority of our membership consists of brothers. ❤
Fun Fact #3: Our first donation from an IBEW Hall was from our wonderful brothers at IBEW Local 222 of Florida. We are eternally grateful for 222’s early support, when very few knew who we were or what we were about! We couldn’t have grown into the organization we are today without our early supporters taking a chance on a small, 100% volunteer-run organization with big dreams. Not long after, we received a phone call from IBEW International Representative Ed Mings that ended with great news – we had been accepted by the IBEW!
Fun Fact #4: We made many major decisions during the first 3 months of inception. One of those was whether or not NSUJL should become a membership organization. We voted on and chose to be a membership organization for various reasons, mainly because we wanted to give our members the ability to vote on major decisions & run for director and officer positions. Members also get some additional perks, such as discounts at some of your favorite line-related stores! We are often asked if NSUJL only supports our active members, and the answer is NO! We support ALL families of injured & fallen IBEW Journeymen Linemen, Utility Linemen, Apprentice Linemen, Groundmen, Operators and Line Clearance Tree Trimmers, whether they are NSUJL members or not.
Fun Fact #5: Climbing for Lost Linemen (CFLL) is a memorial ceremony that was founded in 2011. We acquired the rights to CFLL in 2012 and held the 2nd Annual CFLL memorial ceremony later that year. CFLL is now held the Friday evening before Rodeo every year, and we honor all brothers who were lost to the line since the June prior. During this ceremony, a lantern is raised with each fallen brother’s name etched on it, as a brother climbs the pole to hang it and light the candle within. A moment of silence then takes place in the honoree’s memory. This event is by far the most symbolic of all we do, and why we do it.
Fun Fact #6: The idea of having a lineman’s rodeo was actually brought to us by Bashlin Industries. Our friends at Bashlin set up the event for our first year in 2013, and donated clipboards and stopwatches. We then moved the rodeo to Clearfield, PA after our Brothers at IBEW Local 126 helped us obtain property to use and brought in a ton of help. NSUJL’s Fallen Lineworkers Benefit Rodeo still remains the largest fundraiser we hold all year, and Bashlin & LU 126 have continued to support this event through the years. Starting this year, our Rodeo will now be held every June in Freeland, PA at our new property, the future home of NSUJL!
Fun Fact #7: In October of 2012, we received an amazing letter from President Ed Hill of the IBEW. President Hill was recommending that all IBEW locals support us and contribute to our cause. Then, just before our 1st Birthday in 2013, we received some additional exciting news – we achieved 501(c)(3) status, meaning that the IRS approved us as a tax-exempt, charitable organization. In just under a year, we became an official non-profit & found national support among our IBEW Brothers & Sisters. We were also able to help 16 families & gained over 100 members during that first year!
Fun Fact #8: In early 2020, we took a huge step towards greater growth – we purchased property in Freeland, PA! While this property will be NSUJL’s new home, as well as the site of our annual Rodeo & CFLL memorial ceremony, it will also become a Legacy for Lineworkers – a field of memorial poles that will not only represent lineworkers who have given the ultimate sacrifice, but also be a space of comfort and peace to those they have left behind. In Spring 2020, we began a capital campaign to raise the funds needed to make this dream a reality, and as of today we are over 2/3 FULFILLED!
Fun Fact #9: Happy Birthday, NSUJL! We were founded exactly 9 years ago today. We started out then by assisting only the families of fallen & injured IBEW Journeymen Linemen. Over the years, we’ve grown to help the families of all IBEW power lineworkers, including Utility Linemen, Apprentice Linemen, Groundmen, Operators and Line Clearance Tree Trimmers who have been in a work-related accident. Still today, NSUJL remains the only 501(c)(3) that assists these families with all of their monthly necessities for up to 12 non-consecutive months or when the family is able to provide for themselves. Since our founding in 2012, we have helped 400+ families and have given more than $650,000 in financial aid. And we couldn’t have done it without all of YOU! Thank you!!!