50 homes benefit from free electrical repairs thanks to the union and contractors in the Saint-Louis area | Metro


On Saturday, 50 homes underwent a jolt of electrical repairs, including new ceiling fans, panels, grounded outlets and motion lights.

The upgrades, which cost the owners nothing, were the work of 150 electricians from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1, and 40 contractors from the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors. Association.

Workers gathered at their union hall early Saturday and dispersed across St. Louis and into St. Louis County to homes owned by people who cannot afford such repairs and most of whom are the elderly.

The voluntary work was done through the electrical connection. It’s a partnership between the two organizations that claims to have donated labor and more than $850,000 in materials to improve more than 500 homes for low-income, disabled, and elderly St. Louisians over the past last 15 years.

The value of Saturday’s work in labor and materials was $100,000, said Tim Green, director of political and government relations for the groups.

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He said union members met with owners about a month ago to assess the needs of each home and plan purchases of materials funded by an account used for charitable donations. Union members contribute 30 cents per hour of their salary to the fund.

Some of the volunteers worked Saturday at five homes on North Taylor Avenue, south of Natural Bridge Avenue, in the Greater Ville neighborhood north of St. Louis.

James Edward Price, 85, an army veteran, sat with his cane in his front yard as electricians installed a new porch light and added safer outlets around the home he and his wife have since shared 50 years.

The house, which Price says is over 100 years old, also needed new light fixtures in the utility room, where table lamps had been used to provide light.

“Words cannot express how grateful we are,” Price said.

Electrician Bill Woodfin, of Bridgeton, who was volunteering for the 10th year in a row, replaced an outlet that probably dated from the 1940s and had been used to power an oxygen machine.

“It’s good to come out and help out,” he said.

Doug and Tammy Heidland, owners of Summit Electric in Barnhart, also installed new outlets and added LED lights.

“It’s going to help them on their electric bill,” Doug Heidland said of energy-efficient lighting.

A few houses down, electricians replaced Lorraine Stewart’s porch light and a dangerously worn wire. They added grounded outlets in her bathroom and kitchen, and security lights in her garden.

Stewart, a widow, has raised her four daughters and one son in the home where she has lived since 1966.

“You don’t find too many people willing to help out,” said Stewart, 85. “It’s amazing to me that they’re doing this.”


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