Raffle Nets Thousands for Veterans Group


May 12, 2014


Members and locals attending the Broadcasting, Manufacturing and Telecommunications Conference in April donated $33,000 to transport World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. The funds were raised in a raffle, offering members the chance to win a quilt fabricated from union T-shirts, produced by Teresa Ekstein, a member of Lincoln, Neb., Local 2366.

Members attending the 2014 Broadcasting, Manufacturing and Telecommunications Conference in Connecticut in late April loudly applauded after hearing from George Farrell, a retired fire chief who coordinates Rhode Island’s “honor flights” program.


Farrell encouraged attendees to purchase raffle tickets at the conference to help fund the programwhich provides free transportation to World War II veterans to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. Thousands of veterans, many of whom suffer from terminal diseases and disabling conditions, have made the trip.

The raffle offered ticket purchasers the chance to win a large quilt fabricated from T-shirts provided by manufacturing locals. The quilt was produced byTeresa Ekstein, a 41-year member of Lincoln, Neb., Local 2366. The “Tapestry of Solidarity” was the subject of a February story on www.ibew.org.

“I was speechless,” says IBEW Manufacturing Department Director Randy Middleton who expected to present a few thousand dollars to Farrell.

Conference attendees bought $13,000 worth of the $10 tickets.Then Hartford, Conn., Local 42 and Boston, Mass., Local 104 announced that they would donate $10,000 each to the proceeds.

“The generosity of our members,” says Middleton, “makes me so proud to be an IBEW member.”

Farrell, who attended the reception where the winning ticket was pulled, said:

“You never know what to expect when you ask for support for Honor Flights. The IBEW’s participation was incredible. It was an overwhelming experience for me and Steve Hay, one of the Honor Flight organizers. We were inspired by the members who came up at the reception and supported not just our program, but America’s veterans.”