FOSTER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — A memorial for fallen linemen is in the works right now in Luzerne County. The eleven-acre property will be used to honor the lives of linemen who were killed while on the job.
“We’re ready to set up a national memorial that will honor all of our brothers and sisters that are killed every year providing the community with electricity,” said Rae Johnson, president and founder of the National Sisterhood United for Journeymen Linemen (NSUJL).
The memorial Johnson is talking about will sit right off of Route 940 in Foster Township as a place for fallen linemen to be honored. Her non-profit group formed in 2012 and has been searching for land to create this dream come true.
Each year, a benefit ceremony is held where lanterns are hung on a line, but those lanterns eventually come down.
“There’s no permanent place for people to be honored, so over the course of five years, we’ve been looking for land and then stumbled upon this piece in Freeland which was just absolutely perfect.”
The property did require some clean up over time, and local linemen Kyle Everitt and Jeremy Medash were eager to help.
“When we found out she had a piece of property in the area and we were close to home and we could lend a hand, we got involved,” said Everitt.
Johnson says the memorial will incorporate 35-foot telephone poles, with the year 2012 in the center. Even-numbered years would be placed to the left and odd-numbered years to the right. Marble plaques at each pole would list the names of those killed, along with a waterfall on site.
“There’s a lot of procedure in our job, you have to follow procedure, certain steps, and linemen sometimes forget a step,” said John Romanowski, safety director for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) local union 1319.
So far, there has been over $500,000 in donations from IBEW local unions. And the lineworker benefit rodeo on Father’s Day weekend brings families from all over to help fundraise for this project.
There is a zoning hearing planned for this memorial tonight at 6 p.m. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.
Plans call for the memorial to be finished by spring 2022.