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.
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.
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.
“His wife and kids wanted us to thank you from the bottom of their hearts for your prayers and donations. She is grateful for everything you all have done,” Montero wrote on the GoFundMe page. “We personally wanted to thank everyone for all your donations and help during this time. At the end of the day, we are all a railroad family and unite to help one another out, and during these tough times it has really shown!”
When asked to describe Joe, co-workers shared:
“Joe always would show up to work with a smile and a genuine greeting, so even if you were having a bad day, he always seemed to bring out the best in you.”
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.
Layla was rushed to the emergency room March 18 and diagnosed with Influenza A. Her condition developed into a rare condition called necrotizing encephalopathy. After more than a month in intensive care, she passed away April 23 with family at her side.
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.
SMART Transportation Division Local 278 member Kyle Jones and his wife Samantha received devastating news Jan. 14, when their seven-year-old son Ayden was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APML). This is an extremely rare cancer for someone as young as Ayden.
The cancer was found after Ayden had been taken to urgent care with symptoms of the flu. The urgent care thought he had pneumonia and suggested that Ayden be taken to a children’s hospital in South Bend, Ind., where he was diagnosed with APML.
In order to get the best care possible, Ayden went to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis where he started chemotherapy and was placed on a high risk treatment path for APML due to the high number of leukemia and white blood cells found in his system. The path, at its shortest – if everything goes to plan, will include 9 to 12 months of intensive chemotherapy and bone marrow testing.
The early stages of recovery are the most dangerous for Ayden. The cancer cells in his bone marrow have stopped the production of blood clotting agents and the cancer cells in his blood are sending signals to clot throughout his body. Because of this, Ayden is at a high-risk for strokes and does not have any way to stop bleeding. If Ayden can make it out of this window of risk for clotting and bleeding, APML has a 100 percent cure rate. Thus far, Ayden has been responding well to the treatments.
“As a father who has had to deal with both a serious medical issue with one of my children, and as a cancer survivor myself, I understand the mental, physical and financial battle that has been put in front of this family,” said Jerry Gibson, SMART TD’s Michigan state legislative director.
“I was fortunate enough to have so many friends, family and strangers step up and assist with donations and prayers. Knowing you have the support of others allows the family to focus on the important task at hand – getting their loved one healthy and home. Please consider donating to this cause so that Kyle and Samantha can get Ayden back home.”
As you can imagine, this type of care and the need for his parents to be at Ayden’s side pose a significant financial burden, but the generosity of others can help alleviate it. Please do what you can to help Ayden and his family in their time of need.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help the Jones family with the financial burden caused by Ayden’s illness. Click here to donate to the GoFundMe account.
Tshirts in support of Ayden (approved by Ayden himself) are also being sold and all proceeds go directly to the Jones family. Sizes range from YXS – 3XL and cost $25. Click here to buy a tshirt.
A wake for Chery will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at St. Angela Catholic Church in Mattapan, said the Rev. Gustave Miracle. His funeral will be at St. Angela at 9 a.m. Saturday, followed by a gathering in the church basement.
“My name is Charldyn Valcin, and I met Jephthe in middle school, and years later, he still remained like a brother to me. Jephthe was a great man, dedicated son, phenomenal big brother, hardworking conductor, and an amazing Godfather. Truly, the list can go on and on, because he touched so many individuals during his time on this earth. I, and others who care about Jephthe, are looking to raise this money in order to help his family with the costs of his home going services. Jephthe left an impact on so many of our lives, and now it is our time to tell him thank you! We really need to get the funds as soon as possible, in order for his family to be able to move forward. Please donate whatever you can.”
Click here to make a contribution to the Chery family.
Chery worked as a conductor for MBTA and was a member of SMART TD Local 898 of Boston.