by Bonnie Biocchi, Executive Director
In 1620, our Pilgrim forebears, seeking religious freedom, decided to strike out for the New World. They got into their tiny ship and steadfastly set sail across the Atlantic. Along the way they endured incredible hardship, deprivation and fearsome storms. When they finally arrived on the shores of Cape Cod, they were exhausted and almost out of provisions. That first winter, half of those that had made the journey perished. And yet, they endured. Eventually, the Native people befriended them and taught them some of the skills they would need to survive in a harsh climate with rocky soil and unfamiliar terrain. And so, in 1621 after their first harvest, they set aside a day of Thanksgiving to honor God’s blessings.
When I think of all that I have to be thankful for, first and foremost is that I have been born in this country. We are a land of plenty and of freedom and of sacrifice. And here at NEPPA, we have been fortunate indeed. We have strong Board leadership, capable volunteers, fiscal stability and a bright future.
I am grateful for trainers like John Jankowski who retired this week after 21 years of service. I am thankful that for so many years, John dedicated his life to the principles of safety to ensure our Lineworkers could go home to their families every night.
We are fortunate also to continue to see strong growth in our Lineworker Apprentice Program. Our New York program, led by road warrior Bill Hesson, graduated 13 new Lineworkers. In December we will graduate another 16 from our Littleton program, for which I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Steve Socoby. In fact, all of our trainers deserve a round of applause for the work they have been doing to provide the best training in the industry.
I am also thankful that our General Managers and Operations folks came together several times this year to craft a new Mutual Aid agreement which will soon be unveiled to the membership. I want to especially thank the Mutual Aid Committee, Chair Nick Lawler and Director Scott Edwards for the efforts they expended and for ensuring that all voices were heard in the process of creating a new agreement. And thank you to our Regional Coordinators whose work behind the scenes results in help arriving where it is needed, when it is needed.
These are just a few of the many blessings I have experienced this year. As you prepare your turkey and stuffing, pumpkin pie and eggnog, take a few moments to reflect on this past year and count your blessings. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.