This year's Workers Memorial Mass will be held on May 1st at St. Patrick's Church in Bay Shore. Sadly, this year's Mass has great meaning to the IBEW family. On March 28th, an IBEW Local 94 member at PSE&G New Jersey was electrocuted and died on the job. Mr. John Nestor was killed due to an electrical contact at a substation after touching a live grounding wire. Brother Nestor was not an apprentice or new to the job. Like many of you reading this, he had many years on the job. 29 to be exact. Brother Nestor was only a few short years from retirement.
Sadly, John Nestor was not the only IBEW member who died at work this year. In November, Jeremy Kearns, a hardworking IBEW 1249 member in upstate New York, died when the helicopter that he was working on got caught in power lines. Jeremy was just 30 years old. He was one of those co-workers that everybody loved. He left behind a few little ones. I plan on saying a prayer for them at this Mass.
If you think for one minute that a tragic workplace accident won't happen to you, then think again. Everything from the risk of electrocution, roadside car accidents, gas explosions and the current risks of active shooters in the workplace - all Local 1049 members work in risks that other crafts don't.
While attending this Workers Memorial Mass won't bring John and Jeremy back, your participation sends a few messages. One, it lets their families know that we support them and that they are still part of a brotherhood that reaches far beyond regions and borders. Two, it slows us down to think about if we are truly working safely and three, we join other unions who share in the risk. We say a prayer for us, for them and for our kids because they too depend on us to make it home in one piece after each shift.
So if you work out in the field, please bring your hard hat to be blessed. If you work inside, bring something from you desk or work station. This Mass is one of those things you just need to experience. It's moving to say the least. I close with this in something we say every year at this Mass which has grown in popularity - "Losing your life should never be a job description."