The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) members, chapters and staff came together to offer assistance to disaster relief efforts in New York City.
NECA collected and sent truckloads of supplies to the command center set up by the NECA New York City Chapter to coordinate collection and distribution of goods, monetary donations and manpower to the rescue and clean-up efforts.
“We’ve organized donations of hard hats, safety goggles, work gloves, respirator masks and rain gear for rescue workers," said Emilio Rouco, director of public relations for NECA. "We filled three warehouses in New York City and there’s more coming in.”
NECA members nationwide have reached out to help the rescue and recovery effort by donating to the American Red Cross.
“We’ve raised $44,000 for the American Red Cross and those donations are still coming in,” Rouco said. “The reaction from our members in our chapters was immediate and very generous. My phone has been ringing off the hook. People really want to help out. They are concerned and they really want to give to the effort.”
NECA members immediately mailed checks to the New York City chapter before NECA made a call for donations to the Red Cross. Those checks are being set aside for a special fund, Rouco said.
“While we already have $44,000 for the Red Cross, we will also have a new foundation to benefit the families and children of the electricians who lost their lives,” he said.
Electricians are not only donating money and materials, but are also working closely with the rescue effort in both New York and Washington D.C.
“Both at the Pentagon here in D.C. and in New York City, they’ve been down there on hand,” Rouco said. “Our chapter in New York has been trying to help out by arranging for police escorts to get workers down into Ground Zero.”
The Teamsters are down at Ground Zero hauling off debris in their trucks. Other trades are also helping out in any way that they can, he said.
“It’s my understanding from the chapter manager in New York that there’s more of a need for other trades at the moment like iron workers and those who can cut through the steel beams,” Rouco said. “He said that the trades have really pulled together and shown a huge amount of support for the rescue and cleanup operation.”
NECA will continue to help support the rescue effort, Rouco said. “Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone who was affected by this tragedy in addition to the contractors, electricians and members of our association,” Rouco said. “We as an association have been through two world wars and many uncertain times. We will pull together, move forward and not let this affect our day-to-day operations.”
NECA will continue on with its plans for its 100th anniversary celebration and convention Oct. 21-23 in Washington, D.C.
“We plan to move ahead full steam on our convention,” he said. “We are not going to let this get us down. We’ve been through bad times like this before and obviously we’ve all pulled together. We’ll also make through this one.”