March 21, 2008 Volume 109 Number 6

Union members come to the aid of family of fallen soldier

VANCOUVER — Nearly two dozen members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48 volunteered a Saturday to wire a house being built for the family of a Vancouver soldier killed in Iraq.

Jeremiah Johnson, a 2001 graduate of Prairie High School, died Jan. 5, 2007 — 10 days after a Humvee he and two other soldiers were riding in crashed into a canal in Baghdad. All three soldiers of the Army’s 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division were killed.

Johnson is survived by his wife, Gale, 24, and two children, Isaiah, 6, and Rya, 3.

To help the family, longtime friend and homebuilder Steve Staudinger formed a foundation — “Jeremiah’s House — to raise money to build them a home.

Local 48 learned of the project and word went out for volunteers. “We probably had 100 guys offer to help,” said Greg Parson.

“It’s what we as union members fight for every day, the American Dream of owning your own home,” said Terry Reigle, a Local 48 organizer.

Union contractors donated material and within six hours the 1,700 square-foot-home at 2719 125th Court was completely wired. Estimated cost for a wiring project this size was estimated at $10,000.

“This is a hell of a good Saturday morning for me,” said Danny Gibbs, a veteran and Local 48 member. “We should do this for the families of every soldier who doesn’t come home."


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