SMART Transportation Division Local 934 member Curtis A. Deines, 52, a member of our union for more than 20 years, died before dawn on the morning of March 19 after the SUV he was being transported in was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle on U.S. Highway 2 near Ravenna, Neb.
The driver and three other rail workers in the SUV that Deines was riding in were transported for treatment, as was the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident, according to the Star-Herald of Scottsbluff, Neb. Deines passed away at the scene of the accident, the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Department stated in an accident report.
“He will be greatly missed here in Alliance,” said Local Chairperson Wendie Henderson of the Nebraska local.
Born in Torrington, Wyo., Brother Deines was a hall-of-fame athlete from his time as a center on the Chadron State College football team. He graduated college in 1996 with a degree in education.
He then entered into service with the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad in the maintenance of way department and then transferred into train service as a conductor.
Great sources of pride and joy for him were watching his son, Colin, and daughter, KayLeah, succeed in life and becoming a grandpa, his family wrote in his obituary.
“Curt was loved by all and will be greatly missed for his big heart and infectious laugh,” his family wrote. “The role Curt played in each of our lives will never be forgotten.”
Brother Deines is survived by his wife, Sonya; his son, Colin Deines, and Colin’s girlfriend, Catie Williams; daughter, KayLeah King, and her husband, Robert; two grandchildren; his parents; his sister, Staci John, and her husband; two nieces; and a number of in-laws and other relatives.
A private memorial service is scheduled for March 27.
Brother Wesley Welch of Local 1381 (Hammond, Ind.), his wife and their two daughters lost their house in a fire Jan. 30 and are seeking help.
Welch, 39, a switchman with Norfolk Southern, and his family saw their home in Cedar Lake, Ind., destroyed and one family member was treated at a local hospital for smoke inhalation, according to a report from the Northwest Indiana Times.
Welch’s sister-in-law, Amanda Riley, has established an online fundraiser to assist Brother Welch, who has been a SMART-TD member for almost a decade, his wife and his daughters, 12 and 9, as they attempt to rebuild their lives.
“He’s a great guy — a great member,” said General Chairperson Justin Wolters (GCA-449) who is a fellow Local 1381 member.
Bryant, 34, a conductor with Canadian National, was furloughed in late May and had returned to service Aug. 10. Just four days later, he, his wife, and their three children saw their home in Carlton, Minn., destroyed.
No one was injured in the fire, as fortunately the family members were all outside of the house when it happened.
“They are currently waiting to rebuild, which will take some time,” said Michael Strand, secretary of Local 1067.
In a display of union fraternalism, Devin Clolinger, an applicant to Local 1067, has established an online fundraiser to help Brother Matt, his wife, Jenna, and their children Emma, 11, Grace, 3, and Matty, 1.
Britnee Griffin, daughter of Local 1963 President Mike Griffin, has been battling cancer since the spring.
Britnee Griffin, daughter of Mike Griffin (a yardmaster, alternate vice chairperson of GCA 347 and the president of Local 1963 in Louisville, Ky.), has been battling aggressive cancer since the spring. The medical bills for her family are mounting, and an online fundraiser has been established as the 26-year-old continues her treatment.
“The news has been overwhelming,” Britnee’s mother and Mike’s wife, Megan, posted on the online fundraising site GoFundMe. “We are asking for help with medical expenses. Prayers appreciated.”
What began as Stage 4 melanoma has spread to Britnee’s bones with spots on her skull, right shoulder and on both ribs. Cancer has also been found in her brain, lymph nodes, left breast and lungs. Megan Griffin said in an updated posted about two weeks ago that her daughter is in “unreal” pain. Doctors have prescribed pain medications and have decided to see if chemotherapy treatment for the next two months has any effect on the cancer.
“Any donation would be greatly appreciated,” Megan posted. “Thank you and God bless.”
On July 22 of this year, Local 1715 member Karen Taylor was shot five times in broad daylight while her Charlotte Area Transit Systems (CATS) bus was stopped to unload passengers.
“…just as the last person stepped off of her bus, a man appeared out of nowhere and shot five times into her bus,” Taylor’s daughter, Latavia Clark, wrote on a gofundme page opened for Taylor. “All five shots struck my unsuspecting mother in her head, neck, shoulder and ear. One bullet and bullet fragments are still lodged in her skull.”
Taylor has already had four surgeries and is facing more in the future. The road to recovery is expected to be a long one and the bills are adding up as Taylor’s worker’s compensation claim has been denied.
Just after midnight on April 11, BNSF Railway LCA Secretary and Local Trustee Carlos Barela sustained life-threatening injuries while switching in the Belen Yard in New Mexico.
Local 1168 Local Chairperson Tanner Griffitt and other local chairpersons have organized a GoFundMe account on Barela’s behalf. The page states that due to the severity of his injuries that Brother Barela may never be able to work or provide for himself or his family again.
“We are so grateful for Representative Blake for helping us secure this donation. He has been a huge supporter of our Club, and we appreciate his continued support throughout the year. We also like to thank the SMART Union for their generous donation,” Boys & Girls Club of Sweetwater County CEO Lisa Stewart told Wyo 4 News in an interview.
In addition to representing union members, Blake also represents the state of Wyoming in House District 39.
A GoFundMe online fundraising effort has been created in order to assist a Local 492 member who lost his home in the Camp wildfire that ravaged more than 153,000 acres of Butte County, Calif.
The home of Ervis R. Obregon Jr., a conductor with Union Pacific, was one of the nearly 14,000 residences destroyed by the fire, the most destructive in the state’s history. The fire killed 86 people and was only fully contained Dec. 12 after burning through almost all of November.
“Any help would be appreciated,” Local 492’s Chairperson Trevor Haddix said.
The fundraiser also is assisting Obregon’s fellow TD Local 492 member Vincent Popovich and Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers member Swede Hanski. Both of their homes survived the fire, but they still faced severe financial setbacks because of the disaster.
LCA – CSXT Secretary and UTUIA Field Supervisor Chris Fly (Local 1106) is collecting goods of necessity for our union families who are in need in the wake of Hurricane Florence.
“Currently, Wilmington, N.C., in particular, is not accessible. This is where our Brothers and Sisters from SMART TD Local 1105 reside,” Fly said. “I am preparing to facilitate goods of necessity to our union family and their community, which will be collected at my home for now, depending upon the abundance of items received.”
Fly also reports that the Lumberton, N.C. area also has flooding issues and the Lumber River is still rising.
“We have a game plan to serve their need for necessities as well,” Fly said. “A lot of SMART TD Local 1011 members reside in this area.”
Fly is accepting water, canned food, diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies and hygiene items for men, women and children.
These items can be sent to:
1071 Lindsay Rd.
Nashville, NC 27856
“The response from inland communities has been awesome, I may have to rent a U-Haul due to the abundance of necessities donated,” Fly said. “Mainly, we need prayers that the water will subside so assistance can get in. Currently, they are still isolated by the flood waters.”
N.C. State Legislative Director Ron Ingerick is also accepting donations for those affected by the hurricane. So far, Ingerick has reported that two members have lost everything in the flood. He asks that members keep Ryan Forinash (Local 1105) from Wilmington, and Vice Local Chairperson Jeff Hunt (Local 1011) from Lumberton, and their families in your prayers.
SMART TD has activated the disaster relief fund and is collecting monetary donations for members affected. All donations to the fund are used solely for the benefit of TD members who are impacted by natural disasters.
UTUIA President Kenneth Laugel announced Wednesday that his organization was giving $5,000 to relief efforts for members affected by the storm.
“The devastating flooding and the resulting damage in the Carolinas and particularly North Carolina continues to grow as a result of the aftermath from Hurricane Florence,” Laugel said. “It is our hope and desire that this will serve to ease the burden of those who are suffering.”
To donate, checks can be made payable to ‘SMART TD Disaster Relief Fund‘ and can be sent to:
SMART TD Disaster Relief Fund
24950 Country Club Blvd.
North Olmsted, OH 44070-5333
Donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Hurricane Florence and its resulting floods have left behind substantial destruction in North and South Carolina, leading to the loss of life and millions, if not billions, of dollars in damage to property in the Mid-Atlantic region and inland.
Some of those affected by the devastation include our Brothers and Sisters of SMART Transportation Division (SMART TD) who live in the region. This disaster adds a tremendous burden to their lives and the amount of loss that they now must cope with is unimaginable. The silver lining is, and will continue to be, the generosity of citizens around the country who are giving what they can to help those affected to help overcome the effects of this disaster and to reclaim their lives.
We are asking the SMART TD family to rise to the call and give what you can so that the daunting task of starting over and rebuilding can begin. Your generous donation will help lessen the struggle and bring real hope and relief to our SMART TD members who are suffering through this disaster.
Please make your donation to the SMART TD Disaster Relief Fund. All donations to the fund are used solely for the benefit of TD members who are impacted by natural disasters, and are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
NEWARK, N.J. — Jennifer “Cookie” Doyle reports that SMART Transportation Local 60 will hold a “Railmen for Children” charity bike run July 28. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and goes until 11 a.m., when motorcycle riders will start the run.
The cost of this event is a donation of $20 per person. The ride begins and ends at the Tramontin Harley-Davidson, 482 Hope Blairstown Road, Hope, NJ 07844. Riders will be fully escorted by the Blue Knights NJ8. Food and a live band will be provided after the ride concludes.
All members and locals of SMART are welcome to attend. All signups will be done the day of the event. For questions, contact Doyle at 973-219-2968.
Event T-shirts are available in red, blue, orange and tan for $15 each. See James Tufano or Richie Fryer in Hoboken or email email@example.com and include your name address size and color.
Established by New Jersey Transit conductors and engineers, Railmen for Children brings joy and laughter to more than 300 special needs children each year via the “Santa Claus Express.”
All proceeds from the bike run goes to support the Santa Claus Express.