If you haven’t already seen, NSUJL was in the Standard Speaker as well as Line magazine! Don’t subscribe to either? No worries! You can read both articles in their entirety below!!!
Standard Speaker, Growing Group- Linemen’s nonprofit expands into new headquarters- By Kelly Monitz Staff Writer
FREELAND- The National Sisterhood for Journeymen Linemen opened its new headquarters in the borough this month, as the nonprofit organization continues plans for a national memorial dedicated to fallen electrical linemen.
Numerous people have stopped into the Centre Street office, which sees a lot of foot traffic in Freeland’s business district, said Rae Johnson, president and founder of the organization that assists families of fallen and injured linemen.
The visibility on the main street, and people’s curiosity about the new storefront, help raise awareness to the NSUJL’s mission, she said.
The grassroots organization raises at least $100,000 a year, which goes toward financial assistance for families dealing with a loss or work-related injury, counseling and scholarships. Members also provide emotional support and outreach during the holidays.
The organization started in 2012, when a number of “linewives” decided to raise funds to help families following a series of accidents, found no charity to direct the money and started one.
The sisterhood each year hosts a day-long benefit lineworkers rodeo, in with linemen teams and apprentices compete in events, such as speed climbing and the hurtman rescue.
This year’s rodeo, which was held at Hazleton’s City View Park, brought electrical workers and their families from all over the country.
Many also attended a solemn memorial and lantern hanging ceremony, which remembers those lost in the past year and beyond, the night before.
The sisterhood hopes to bring both events to the national memorial site, which is being developed on the property along Route 940 between Freeland and White Haven in Foster Twp. Construction, pending permitting and approvals, could begin next year, Johnson said.
Some suggested that the rodeo portion of the two-day event, held Father’s Day weekend, stay at City View Park due to its central location, with the remembrance ceremony moving to the national memorial. The nonprofit’s board will ultimately decide how to proceed, Johnson said.
If the national memorial site is ready for the next year’s rodeo and ceremony, the event will expand to four days-from June 15 to 18.
Johnson would like to see members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers set the poles and attach the memorial plaques on June 15, and quietly open the memorial to lineman and their families the next day, she said.
The Climbing for Lost Linemen Memorial Ceremony with still be the night of June 17 as members climb poles to hang lanterns for those lost; and the rodeo would follow the next morning on June 18.
The sisterhood hired two people from the community to man the main office, handling day-to-day operation of the nonprofit as well as reaching out to families who need financial assistance- or just someone to listen as those affected work through their grief, Johnson said.
The office staff recently asked if anyone would be interested in it’s promotional packs, which includes stickers, pens, back scratchers and informational brochures to get the word out about the organization, and how it can help brothers and sisters in their times of need, Johnson said.
The sisterhood also reached out to help local organizations with their community efforts, Johnson said. The nonprofit sometimes receives an abundance of donations, some seasonal like children’s Halloween costumes, which it’ll give to help other organizations in the community, she said.
The organization has grown exponentially since its founding just 10 years ago, but it can’t operate out of someone’s home anymore, Johnson said.
” I could never do this myself,” she said. “We’re not a little non profit anymore, but to me, we’re still that small, tight-knit, family-operated charity. We just have new family members.”
Additional information on the sisterhood can be found on the nonprofit’s website, www.nsujl.org, and also on Facebook.