The Annual IBEW Ride gets better every year. Camaraderie, fun, bikes for miles, brotherhood, and solidarity are just a few of the words used to describe the 2015 IBEW Ride.

In West Virginia, Canaan Valley Resort served as home base. The ride was a day long event through lush forest, rolling hills, and charming small towns where riders would take a break to grab a bite to eat and swap stories.

The IBEW Ride was also a great chance for many INEW members to meet and welcome new International President Lonnie Stephenson. Stephenson, along for his first IBEW Ride, was blown away by the event and you could see the union pride on his face as he addressed the many brothers and sisters before him.

This years ride wasn’t only about brotherhood. The proceeds of the 2015 Ride go towards fighting cystic fibrosis, a cause near and dear to many in the IBEW family. The ride raised nearly $10,000 and will be used to research and fight cystic fibrosis.

Keep in mind: Together, we are better. Together, we share a bond that enriches all of us.

TRANSCRIPT – 2015 IBEW Ride for Cystic FibrosisMatthew Walton

Welcome to another feature story here on IBEW Hour Power, I’m Matthew Walton. Well, it’s summertime, and that means it’s time for the annual IBEW Motorcycle Ride! And this year, it’s going to be one of the biggest yet.

It’s hard to top an event that just seems to be getting better every year, but once again the brothers and sisters who took to the road in this years ride said it was the best yet.

John Fazekas – Local 3: “The ride was great we had a lot of people out there. We had a lot of fun!”

David Pena – Local 25: “It’s been probably one of the best runs I have ever been on.”

Anthony Chessari – Local 503: “Can’t imagine more than this.”

Glen – Local 1913: “This is a good time!”

Linda Petrofky – Local 503: “We came down the one mountain and you could see bikes for miles and miles and miles and miles.”

Dave – Local 3Dave – Local 3: “There is a lot of camaraderie here. We have a great time together.”

Charlie Sable – Local 160:  “It was really neat to see everybody and all the bikes and the brotherhood.”

James Capers – Local 26:  “Solidarity actually means having a good time. So if you want to have a good time with your brothers and you ride, this is the best place to be.”

Over the years West Virginia has been the choice of ride organizers multiple times and its easy to see why.  It’s a stat where the beauty of the lush green mountainside comes down to meet some of the best cruising highways you’ll find anywhere in the country.

With Canaan Valley resort as home base, we made a great daylong loop through some rolling hills, some thick forest, and through a few small towns.

And strategically placed along the way, there were a couple of stops where riders gathered to get a bite to eat …  to take a break…. And most of all, swap stories about their travels.

One notable change in this years ride was that our brothers & sisters welcomed our new International President, Lonnie Stephenson.President Lonnie Stephenson

President Lonnie Stephenson: “I think it’s fantastic. It’s amazing have this many bikes all going and watching them go through the road all in unison. And the captains shutting off roads for us to keep moving, it’s absolutely amazing. To talk about the brotherhood, what a great way to share the day. It’s a beautiful day now, the sun is out and you can just feel the brotherhood from everybody coming from different parts of the United States and getting together for this ride. It’s just amazing.”

It was in President Stephenson’s remarks that sounded the constant reminder that goes back as far as the brotherhood itself.  Together we are better.  Together, we share a bond that enriches us all.

Joe BechtoldJoe Bechtold – Retired Local 3: “To be here and to see what has happened, just by us making a little change with our patch; it’s very very awesome. It’s magnificent.”

James Pena – Local 25: “It’s an incredible brotherhood, that’s what I see. And you know you run into people from different states but yet you feel connected, you feel a bond. There is a level of loyalty, respect, and there’s admiration for one another. Its’ a big family.”Marc Perrone

Marc Perrone – International President, United Food & Commercial Workers: “Looking at the vests and the rockers on the back of them and everything and how close everybody was together.  We are all different but we are one.  I was really impressed by that especially from the brotherhood of the IBEW.”

Anthony Chessari – Local 503: “ Everybody together like this for a good cause.  It’s  fantastic to see.”

As any member knows, the hand of the IBEW extends beyond the brotherhood to help a wide variety of those in need.

President Lonnie Stephenson: “This year we are raising money for cystic fibrosis, it’s a great organization. Every year we raise money for a charity.”

This year the ride raised just under $10,000 towards the cause, which had a little deeper meaning for some in the family.

Don & Judy KazckaDon & Judy Kazcka – Business Manager: “It’s rides like this that are the mountain top experiences for parents of kids with cystic fibrosis. Thank you IBEW, you have no idea of the joy that is in these two parents hearts after a day like this.”

Phil Fisher – Local 80: “When you have this many guys and gals come together for a common cause, it’s impressive. And I don’t think people realize really how many people show up.”

Troy & Ellen Vandiber – Local 124: “We don’t have as much support as some of the other diseases because it’s so rare. SoTroy & Ellen Vandiber it’s always fought by our family and as union members, IBEW is part of our family and part of our fight and we thank you.”

Ask any thousand brothers & sisters what the IBEW means to them and you’ll get a thousand slightly different answers- yet all will have a common theme. WE are the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers…  And no mater where we live..  No matter what we do… It all comes back to being there for each other.  A bond no one can break.

President Lonnie Stephenson: “President Hill talked about the brotherhood that you feel here and I felt that so strong that it is a good thing I had sunglasses on because I tell ya it was bringing tears to my eyes watching all of you come in at the end of the ride today. I was so glad to be a part of this, and if you’ll have me, if you invite me back, I’ll be back here next year.”

 

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Matthew Walton

Matthew Walton is the host of IBEW Hour Power and has been with the program since its beginnings in 2007. As an IBEW Hour Power host and producer, Matthew travels across the United States and Canada visiting job sites, training centers, and union halls to tell the stories of the IBEW brothers and sisters that work so hard every day.

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