Only a handful of people can claim they intimately know the buildings of Faxton St.
Luke’s Healthcare. The members of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Local #43 (IBEW) are among them, says Assistant Business Manager Pat Costello. “We
know Faxton St. Luke’s inside and out because we’ve installed and pulled wires
everywhere in their buildings.”
But the folks at the IBEW know something more about Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare
and what it brings to our community. Costello notes, “The services at the Regional
Cancer Center are second to none and we want the cancer center to know that we
appreciate that they are there for us. We are blessed to have them.”
This sentiment and working with the National Electrical Contractors Association
(NECA) was the catalyst to a shift in the relationship between Faxton St. Luke’s
and IBEW. A simple business relationship in conjunction with NECA that spanned
decades blossomed into a partnership with even deeper meaning through the Faxton
St. Luke’s Healthcare Foundation in the early 1990s. “We started our charitable
giving program to give back to the community organizations that serve our members
and their families,” Costello said.
It became personal to IBEW when former business manager Ken Williams was being treated
for cancer. “We visited him there many times during his treatment. The dignity,
class and professionalism exhibited by staff was overwhelming to me,”
Costello said. When Williams passed away, IBEW contributed the funds to
help build the Outpatient Infusion Unit in his memory. In more recent
years, the Stomp Out Cancer Telethon took on renewed significance for
IBEW after losing business manager William Towsley to cancer.
John Kogut, president of Kogut Electric a long time Foundation board
member, plays an active role with NECA and is an important part of the magic
that has taken place between IBEW, NECA and the Regional Cancer Center.
Because of a family history with the disease, he has taken a personal
interest in supporting The Regional Cancer Center be serving as
a conduit between the organizations.
“Both IBEW and NECA work together professionally and we both recognize
how important the commitment to our community is,” said Kogut. “We’ve
always had a very good relationship and working together along with the
hospital is a natural extension to this.”
Kogut explained that he has been involved in IBEW’s Health and Welfare
Fund for member Healthcare for more than 30 years. “It exists to benefit
the health of members,” he says. “It makes sense that The Regional Cancer
Center at Faxton St. Luke’s is among the organizations we support.”
That are 1,300 IBEW members in 11 New York counties with anchors located
in Syracuse, Utica and Oswego. Costello says that almost 500 members,
including retirees and their families, reside in the Utica area.
The funding IBEW provides for Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare comes
from the dues of its working union members and the employers. A
portion is earmarked for community contributions and those dollars
are contingent on how many members are working, construction projects
that are underway and, ultimately, the economy.
“We can’t create jobs, but we can man them when they exist,”
said Costello. “Even through a down economy, our promises were
kept to the organizations we support. We’re very proud of that.”
The IBEW has a five-year commitment to Faxton St.; Luke’s Healthcare.
They work to maintain a specific giving level each year and that can be
challenging in the construction business.
Yet Costello was nothing but optimistic for the future of the
relationship between The Regional Cancer Center and the IBEW. “There is
no end in sight. As long as there’s money, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare
Foundation will be on the top of our list.”
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