Electrical Union Helps to Shine a Light on Veteran Issues

There’s an old saying, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

And for Project Help the journey to assist those who keep us safe and protect our way of life moved significantly forward from a single email.

It began when Sandy Mitchell, Executive Director of Project Help, contacted a Wallkill Valley Rotary member about a possible job for a female veteran with which she was working.

In response Paul Kattermann, President of High Point Electric Inc. in Wantage called her office. He explained that he hires his employees through the union and there are often job openings with the local electricians union. “I prefer to hire veterans because they usually are disciplined people and have a very good work ethic, “ Kattermann said. “Hopefully there can be future connections between veterans needing a job and getting a job through the union hall.”

Following up on that conversation Mitchell reached out to David Fiore, the Sussex Union Representative for IBEW Local 102, and briefly explained the scope of Project Help. “He said, wow we’re looking for a local charity to support with the money we will raise from our bike (motorcycle) run,” Mitchell said, “He proceeded to tell me that it could net Project Help thousands of dollars!”

Project Help is an all-volunteer grassroots organization working one on one with veterans in need of assistance.

Fiore said he would make some calls and get back to  Mitchell. The next day it was done. “We’re the benefactor this year!” Mitchell wrote in an email to the Project Help Board of Directors and volunteers. “This money will supply financial support to veterans in desperate situations, such as those dealing with turn-off notices and other hardships.”

According to Mitchell even with IBEW’s generous donation more help is desperately needed.

Project Help has a $1500 budget per veteran. “Often the need is much greater, and we have to decline the request,” she explained. “We could increase that budget number with the right support from donors and sponsors.”

Every donation makes a difference but the need is great. In New Jersey alone, it is estimated that there are about 6,000 homeless vets. That number does not account for family members who are also homeless, impoverished or disenfranchised.

Many of our veterans are wrestling with issues such as unemployment, underemployment, financial hardships, legal issues, and more. Additionally  some struggle with PTSD, TBI and other challenging physical and mental afflictions. Which is why the work done by Project Help is so important.

“This is a national disgrace and it is our mission to change these statistics one veteran at a time,” said Mitchell. “We have to get the message out that veterans, who gave so much, must be on the top of the list for assistance.  We need all hands on deck to make it happen. Real action, not talk is needed.”

IBEW Local 102’s “Bike Run and Cruise In” is the event that will be benefiting Project Help

Scheduled for July 20, 2019 with a July 21 rain date.

It begins with the bike run at 9:00 a.m. in Parsippany and concludes with a car show, BBQ lunch, ice cream truck, live music, Chinese auction, raffle prizes, and trophies for winners in a variety of categories.

Click here for more details on this fun event!