Archive for the ‘Charitable Corner’ Category

SMART-TD member loses home in fire

On January 9, 2022, tragedy struck in the form of a fire for Alaska Railroad conductor and SMART-TD Local 1626 (Anchorage, Alaska) member Danielle Gallagher. Gallagher and her two children lost their home near Palmer, Alaska, that night, reports Local 1626 Secretary & Treasurer Justin Voss.

Gallagher family

The local has rallied around Gallagher and Alaska SLD and Local Legislative Representative Darren Toppin has set up a GoFundMe account to help her with expenses as the family works to recover from the fire.

“Danielle is a conductor for the Alaska Railroad and a very dedicated employee. She loves her job! Not only is Danielle a great coworker, she is also [a] great friend. She is always willing to reach out and lend a hand and helps anyone in need. No matter the situation,” Toppin said on the GoFundMe page. “This is now our chance to help her and her awesome kids and say, thank you for always having our backs.”

In addition to the loss of their home, some of the family dogs were lost in the fire. The farm animals, including horses and cattle and other livestock, were not harmed.

Click here to make a donation to the fund to help Gallagher and her kids.

 

Fundraiser established for family of late member of Local 1730

An online fundraiser has been established for the family of Local 1730 (Richmond, Calif.) member Charles F. “Chuck” Reiring, who passed away suddenly Dec. 14 at age 41.

Brother Charles F. “Chuck” Reiring passed away Dec. 14, 2021, at age 41. He is survived by his daughter, Dixie (pictured), his wife and son Charles III.

Brother Reiring joined our union in January 2018 and worked as a conductor for BNSF.

Fellow SMART-TD member Gary Brunt Jr. of Local 1544 (Maywood, Calif.) has established a memorial fund on GoFundMe in memory of Brother Reiring, with whom Brunt had trained when both hired on as BNSF conductors.

“There wasn’t a time he didn’t speak of how much he would want for his daughter, son, or wife, Angie to have. He will forever be remembered for his sacrifice, duty, and love for his family,” Brunt wrote.

Brother Reiring is survived by his wife of 18 years, Angie Vierra; his daughter, Dixie; and his son, Charles III.

Click here to visit the online fundraiser.

Member’s family hit hard by the effects of COVID-19

Michelle Mitchell

August 31st was a day that would forever change the lives of member David Mitchell (Local 937 in Mart, Texas) and his family. It was the day that he would come home with a diagnosis of COVID-19. By September 7, Mitchell’s wife, Michelle, would begin to show symptoms, and on September 13, she was hospitalized with severe COVID pneumonia. By Sept. 14, all four of the Mitchell kids had been diagnosed as well.  

Although David and his kids recovered quickly from COVID-19, Michelle did not. Her health continued to decline and on Oct. 5, she had to be intubated.  

“Oct. 6th after picking up my son from Timberview High School following an active shooter at his school, as if I wasn’t under enough stress already, I walked into my wife’s ICU room and touched her leg and her heart stopped,” David said. “Michelle was revived, and shortly after that her kidneys failed and her liver failed.” 

Although Michelle’s breathing slowly began to improve, other parts of her did not. The doctors took her off of sedation for three days, but she did not wake up. The doctors then decided to run a CT scan and MRI on both sides of her brain and discovered that Michelle had had multiple strokes on both sides. 

David reports that Michelle’s organs are back in working order and that she is recovering slowly. The strokes have caused left-side paralysis and her motor skills have been affected as well. Her largest hurdle is learning to walk again at the rehab facility. 

“She still is extremely weak and has paralysis on her left side and needs lots of rehab to get all of her motor skills back. And that’s a fight she’s ready to take on headfirst,” David said. 

Alternate Vice President and GCA-927 General Chairperson Scott Chelette, who brought Brother Mitchell’s situation to SMART-TD’s attention, has gotten together with local chairpersons to provide Christmas gifts for David’s children. 

“Brother Mitchell was especially appreciative of the fact that the International and the President’s office cared enough to want to help in any way they could. I explained to him that this is what an organization should do for each other, and he and every other member will see us getting back to that way of thinking,” Chelette said. 

Local 569 Local Chairperson Lawrence Perkins is collecting Christmas gifts for the family. Gifts can be mailed to Perkins at 412 Rocky Creek Drive, Mansfield, Texas, 76063-8800. Brother Mitchell has three boys — ages 6, 9, and 16; and one daughter, age 14. 

During this time, Brother Mitchell has been off work just trying to take care of his family. As a result, finances are tight with him not working, coupled with hospital and rehab bills. A GoFundMe has been set up by David to help the family during this difficult time. Click here to donate. 

Daughter of TD Local 1558 president establishes fundraiser for mother

A union sister is trying to help the most important woman in her life receive the care she needs after two devastating strokes.

Local 1558 member Jenell Rose, left, stands with her mom, Kecia Jordan, president of Local 1558, in this photo that was taken prior to Sister Jordan’s strokes.

Member Jenell Rose of Local 1558 (Bergenfield, N.J.) has started an online fundraiser after her mother Kecia Jordan, the president of Local 1558, had a pair of strokes.

The medical crisis began when Sister Jordan, 51, caught COVID-19 and was unable to work for Rockland Coaches.

“Within a few days of her diagnosis, COVID-19 caused her to have a stroke,” said General Chairperson Richard Finley (GCA-RCL).

Sister Jordan was hospitalized as a result of the first stroke and was receiving care when she had a second stroke. She has been in recovery ever since and three weeks ago entered a rehabilitation facility, Finley said.

“Kecia has been a valued member of our local. Fortunately, she is starting to recover,” Finley said. “She is learning how to do all the basic stuff that we have taken for granted in our lives. Due to this medical condition, this has devastated her financially.”

Sister Jordan not only is a local president. She works with Finley as GCA secretary and is also secretary for LCA RCL1. Most importantly, she’s an inspiration and guiding light for her daughter and fellow union member.

“She is an amazing woman, the biggest heart and forever my number one supporter. I would do anything to have my mother back to her normal self,” Sister Rose wrote on GoFundMe. “I know everything takes time so I’m here for anything & everything she needs. We as the family are doing the best we can to maintain all that she has as well as fixing her home so she’s able to recover as best and fast as possible.”

If able to help, please donate via GoFundMe.

Fundraiser established for injured conductor

Tommy Manuszewski, a probationary member of our union’s Local 1566 (Buffalo, N.Y.), was severely injured in an accident late last month after being struck by a train in a Norfolk Southern yard.

Brother Manuszewski’s arm was amputated and his collarbone and multiple vertebrae were broken as well. He underwent successful emergency surgery after being placed in a medically induced coma after the accident, and his recovery likely will take years, doctors have said.

Because of his probationary status, his coverage through the railroad benefit system had not begun. In the latest update on Brother Manuszewski’s status published Nov. 6, Local 1566 Legislative Representative Joseph Kaier said that treatment is ongoing, focusing on pain management and in-patient rehabilitation.

An online fundraiser has been established by his local to help support Brother Manuszewski on GoFundMe.

“Tommy and his family have been devastated by these events,” Kaier wrote. “Tommy’s career as freight conductor is over, and soon his family’s bills will be racking up.”

Manuszewski helps care for his elderly parents and was to be married to his fiancee, Tammi Jo Smith, next summer.

Please contribute if you are able.

GoFundMe set up for members’ devastated family

James “JP” Melton

Local 904 (Evansville, Ind.) S&T Brian Hall reports that the local has opened a GoFundMe page to support CSX yardmaster and Local 1963 (Louisville, Ky.) member Jason P. Melton and his family after his 13-year-old son tragically took his own life on Sunday, Oct. 17.

Melton’s son, James “JP”, was born July 1, 2008, in Madisonville, Ky., to Jason P. and Joy Morgan Melton. He is survived by his parents; sister, Lillie Melton; brother, Matthew Melton; grandparents, Alan and Kathy Morgan, Steve and Susan Melton; along with many uncles, aunts and cousins. He was preceded in death by his great-grandparents and brother, Christopher Melton.

Visitation will be Wednesday, Oct. 20 from 4 to 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. on Thursday. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21 at Barnett-Strother Funeral Home, with burial to follow.

Click here to donate via the GoFundMe page.

Click here to leave condolences for the family.

TD Disaster Relief Fund activated to assist in wake of Ida

The SMART Transportation Division is primed to assist members in their time of need when disaster strikes.

Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana and Mississippi on Aug. 29 and tore a path through an area stretching from the Gulf Coast to the New York-New Jersey region, dropping torrential rain and affecting members’ lives with its massive flooding and wind damage.

Our members in the impacted area, both active and retired, face a long recovery and the painful task of rebuilding their homes and carrying on with their lives.

Furthermore, not only are they coping with the aftermath of a storm, they are doing so against the backdrop of the continuing COVID pandemic.

We are asking the SMART-TD family to heed the call and give what you can so that the difficult task of starting over and rebuilding can begin for any TD members who have been affected by Ida.

Any donations will help lessen the struggle and bring real hope and relief to our members who are suffering after this great loss. SMART-TD will administer donations sent to the SMART-TD Disaster Relief Fund.

Contributions may be sent and made payable to:

SMART-TD Disaster Relief Fund
24950 Country Club Blvd.
Suite 340
North Olmsted, OH 44070-5333

TD Members who have suffered damage or loss due to this storm can contact the SMART-TD office for an application for assistance by calling 216-227-5237.

General Chairperson Anthony Simon co-chairs golf outing event with SM business managers

Simon

GCA-505 Long Island Rail Road General Chairperson Anthony Simon has teamed up with SMART Sheet Metal Business Managers Dante Dano (SM Local 137) and Eric Meslin (SM Local 28) to plan an annual golf outing in Bronx, N.Y. to benefit LaborPress.

LaborPress is one of the largest labor news organizations in the nation. They were founded in August 2009 by LaborPress President Neal Tepel to provide a media outlet for unions and workers. Their articles regularly appear in the New York Daily News and on their website. iHeart radio’s WOR radio station features their daily reports.

LaborPress.org regularly has features on the transportation and building trades industries, which is why our union is happy to help them out with their golf outing. Most notably, LaborPress recently posted spotlight features on Simon, Dano, Meslin and General President Joe Sellers.

According to Simon, GCA-505 and SMART Locals 137 and 28 regularly work together on joint efforts and this event is no different. The keynote speaker for the event is none other than SMART General President Sellers. During his lunchtime speech, Sellers plans to discuss infrastructure issues important to both the transportation and sheet metal sides of the union, as well as the need for more unionized workers in the workforce. Also speaking during the event are representatives from the AFL-CIO and the North America’s Building Trades Union (NABTU). Legislators are expected to attend as well.

“We are honored to have our general president attend this event as the keynote speaker. This event takes place in New York, where many labor leaders throughout the state will join us to hear Joe’s opinions on the labor movement and the infrastructure bills that we are fighting for in Washington,” Simon said. “This event shows that when we all stand together with both transportation and building trades, our voices and actions are stronger than ever.”

The golf outing is being held Sept. 10, at the Pelham Bay Golf Course, 870 Shore Rd., Bronx, NY 10464.

Click here for a flyer with more information on costs and contacts.

Fundraiser established for injured Local 1545 member

Brother Eddie Dotson of Local 1545 lost limbs while working as a conductor for Union Pacific. A fundraiser has been established to assist him and his family with mounting medical bills.

An online fundraiser has been established for Eddie Dotson, a member of SMART-TD Local 1545 (Monroe, La.), who was injured June 23, 2021, while on duty in Tioga, La.

Brother Dotson, 52, a trustee for his local and a member of our union for 17 years, lost limbs in the accident. He faces multiple surgeries and mounting medical bills.

His family must drive two hours or stay in a hotel to stay by Brother Dotson’s side as he is being treated in Shreveport, far from his home in Pineville, La.

“Any donations for Brother Dotson and his family would be greatly appreciated,” said Louisiana State Legislative Director Chris Christianson, who established the GoFundMe campaign.

To donate, follow this link.

Local 17 vice president passes away from injuries

John Pohle is surrounded by his family in this photo. Brother Pohle was critically injured in an at-work accident April 30.

Brother John Pohle, vice president of Local 17 (Marshalltown, Iowa), passed away in the hospital on May 25, 2021, nearly a month after he suffered a critical injury while working April 30 in Union Pacific’s Marshalltown Yard.

Brother Pohle, a member of the union for more than 13 years and a local officer since 2012, had been in a medically-induced coma in the weeks since the accident amputated his right leg.

LCA-953B had established an online fundraiser for Pohle, his wife and their three sons after Brother Pohle’s injury. That fundraiser remains open to continue to assist them in this time of devastating loss.

Follow this link to contribute to the fundraiser on GoFundMe for Brother Pohle.

The SMART Transportation Division extends its deepest condolences to Brother Pohle’s family, his friends and especially his brothers and sisters of Local 17, which he helped to lead for nearly a decade.

Services scheduled for Local 113 member Wade Carlisle

Wade Carlisle, a loyal member of Local 113 (Winslow, Ariz.), died in a non-work-related accident May 1 at age 50.

Carlisle

He was a member of our union for six years, and worked as a trainman/brakeman for BNSF.

He was vocal on worker safety issues and participated in an in-depth interview with the Arizona Daily Sun in 2018 regarding train automation and the importance of maintaining two-person crews.

Brother Carlisle ran for political office in 2018, narrowly losing a race for the Arizona State Senate, District 6 seat by a little more than 1,700 votes to a Republican incumbent. He also was a minister, small business owner, a city councilman and most importantly, the husband to Sandy and father to Emma and Abbey.

“Wade was very passionate about selfless service to his community,” Arizona State Legislative Director Scott Jones said. “One of his most-impressive qualities was how he kept a very calming demeanor when talking with constituents about issues they were very passionate about.”

Brother Carlisle is survived by Sandy, his wife of 22 years, his two daughters, his mother; two brothers; and a number of nieces and nephews.

A viewing and services will be 10 a.m. Saturday, May 8, at First Baptist Church of Holbrook, Ariz. Interment will be at Burton Cemetery in Show Low, Ariz. at 4 p.m. Donations may be made to Youth For Christ of Holbrook online or by check written to Youth For Christ with 31045 in the memo line which can be given to a YFC leader or Pastor Nathan Heller at the service.

His complete obituary can be read here.

SMART Transportation Division offers its heartfelt condolences to Brother Carlisle’s family and friends and his brothers and sisters of Local 113.

Two TD members pass from COVID-19

The SMART Transportation Division is mourning two union brothers who have died in recent weeks because of COVID-19.

Wheeler

Member Thurman Wheeler, 47, of Local 1348 (Centralia, Wash.) passed away on April 30 after being hospitalized for nearly two weeks with the virus. He was a Union Pacific conductor on the Portland east to Hinkle, Ore., pool.

“Thurman was liked and loved by all, and his loss is being felt very hard here in Portland,” said member Jeff Cubley of Local 1574. “He was an excellent person to work with, and he worked his tail off to provide for his family.”

An online fundraiser has been established for Brother Wheeler’s family by Local 1574 member David Patterson.

Condolences also can be sent to Brother Wheeler’s wife:
Victoria Wheeler
19945 NE Clackamas Court
Portland, OR 97230


SMART Transportation Division Local 225 (Bellevue, Ohio) is mourning the passing of its president, Jason Ruffing, from COVID at age 40 on April 21.

Ruffing

Brother Ruffing was the local’s president for more than six years, served as LCA-687C secretary and was a past trustee of the local. He hired out with Norfolk Southern as a conductor in 2003 and was a certified remote control operator before becoming an engineer.

“Jason was well respected from his peers and the membership,” Local Chairperson Michael Bishop said. “Jason absolutely enjoyed helping anyone whether they needed it or not. He was the type of guy who would drop what he was doing to come help you out at any time. Jason will be missed dearly by his railroad brothers and sisters. Godspeed, Jason.”

President Ruffing loved to cook and grill during the local’s annual picnic, and never shared the secret ingredients of his special recipe spice mix.

A favorite pastime was camping at Tall Timbers campgrounds in Port Clinton, Ohio, and he taught CCW classes in his spare time, his obituary stated.

He served as a volunteer firefighter in Willard and Attica, was a supporter of Second Amendment rights and of the rights and freedoms we all have as Americans.

Brother Ruffing is survived by his parents, sisters, brothers and a number of other relatives.

Click here to leave condolences for the Ruffing family.


The SMART Transportation Division offers its heartfelt condolences to the families of Brother Wheeler and Brother Ruffing, to their union brothers and sisters in Locals 1348 and 225 and to all those who knew them.