The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) has raised thousands of dollars in its support of disaster relief efforts in New York City.
NECA also collected and sent truckloads of supplies to the command center set up by the NECA New York City Chapter to coordinate collection and distribution of goods, monetary donations and manpower to the rescue and clean-up efforts.
“We've organized donations of hardhats, safety goggles, work gloves, respirator masks and rain gear for rescue workers,” said Emilio Rouco, director of public relations for NECA. “We filled three warehouses in New York City and there's more coming in.”
NECA members nationwide have reached out to help the rescue and recovery effort by donating to the American Red Cross. “We've raised $157,000 for the American Red Cross and those donations are still coming in,” Rouco said. “The reaction from our members in our chapters was immediate and very generous. My phone has been ringing off the hook. People really want to help out.”
NECA members immediately mailed checks to the New York City chapter before NECA made a call for donations to the Red Cross. Those checks are being set aside for the IBEW — September 11th Relief Fund, which will provide support to the children and families of the 16 IBEW Local 3 and four IBEW Local 1212 members who lost their lives.
“While any charity that gives to this cause is important, this one is much closer to our hearts,” Rouco said. “The IBEW lost family. NECA contractors lost valued friends and employees. We want to show our support for our friends at the IBEW who lost so much.”
Electricians are not only donating money and materials, but are also working closely with the rescue effort in both New York and Washington D.C.
“Both at the Pentagon here in D.C. and in New York City, they've been down there on hand,” Rouco said. “Our chapter in New York has been trying to help out by arranging for police escorts to get workers down into Ground Zero.”
Teamsters truck drivers drove down to Ground Zero to haul off debris, while other trades helped in any way they could, he said. “The chapter manager in New York said that the trades have really pulled together and shown a huge amount of support for the rescue and cleanup operation,” he said.
NECA will continue to help support the rescue effort, Rouco said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone who was affected by this tragedy in addition to the contractors, electricians and members of our association,” Rouco said. “We as an association have been through two world wars and many uncertain times. We will pull together, move forward and not let this affect our day-to-day operations.”
NECA will continue on with its plans for its 100th anniversary celebration and convention Oct. 21-23 in Washington, D.C.
“We plan to move ahead full steam on our convention,” he said. “We are not going to let this get us down. We've been through bad times like this before and obviously we've all pulled together. We'll also make through this one.”
NECA has already raised $157,000 so far for the American Red Cross and has now made a call for donations to a new benefit fund. IBEW has set up a fund for the families of the electricians who lost their lives. You can help by mailing checks made out to IBEW — September 11th Relief Fund to NECA's national headquarters at: NECA, c/o Emilio Rouco, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 1100, Bethesda, Md., 20814.
If you have any questions, call Emilio Rouco at (301) 657-3110. You can also visit www.necanet.org.