Aug 04, 2016

NAGE Members Rescue Trapped Visitors After Major Storm

On Wednesday, July 13, 2016, NAGE members at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery (Local R14-116) in St. Louis, Missouri, rescued two visitors after a severe storm produced heavy rain and 70 mph winds.

Jessica and Brian Boyd were visiting the burial sites of their father and grandmother at the cemetery when the couple became trapped in their car as multiple trees fell onto their car and blocked the road. “A tree flew over headstones and landed on the hood of our car. Another bounced off the roof and landed on our trunk. We began to honk our horn and flash our lights,” said Jessica Boyd.  Luckily for the Boyds, the brave members of NAGE Local R14-116 were there to help. “When the storm came through everyone was down in our compound area and you could hear all the trees snapping, cracking, and hitting the ground.  That’s when we received the call [from management] that there were still visitors on the cemetery grounds,” said Dave Pritchett of NAGE Local R14-116. Pritchett, along with other members, successfully assisted the couple by removing the trees, clearing the roads, and escorting the couple out of the cemetery. “I suppose it was like being back in the Marine Corps. I wasn’t so much worried about myself, I was more focused on helping the visitors and getting everyone to safety,” he said.

When speaking with the Boyds, they spoke of the dedication of the members, “They risked their lives to ensure our safety. They stayed with us the entire time by escorting us out of the cemetery and making sure we knew how to get home. We were really glad that they were there and are so thankful that they went above and beyond their normal duties.”

NAGE/IBPO Federal Director Sarah Suszczyk thanked the members for their brave assistance to the Boyds and others, but was not surprised by their actions. “Working as a public employee is a call to service, and the selfless nature demonstrated by the members of R14-116 is just one example of what our members do every day in service to the American public.”

Charles Arrington, Local President said, “This type of interaction with visitors is par for the course, our employees treat everyone as if they are our own family members coming to visit us.  Seeing how our members responded shows the commitment to mission and professionalism.” The storm resulted in roughly 200 fallen trees which damaged about 200 headstones, 50 of which will have to be completely replaced.  The storm also left about 200,000 households without power. President Arrington recognized that “Looking around at the damage we are very fortunate that not a single person was injured in the mayhem.” NAGE commends David Pritchett, John Durrer, and Russ McKenzie for their courage and dedication to serving others.

Image Gallery (Click to enlarge images)
Jessica and Brian Boyd

Where trade unions are most firmly organized, there are the rights of the people most respected. - Samuel Gompers
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