This Veteran’s Day, we’re sharing the story of Crystal Rourke, an Army veteran and IBEW Local 160 sister, for our third episode of our Band of Brotherhood series.

Crystal grew up in a rural farming community in Missouri. After moving around not only from house to house, but also family to family, she questioned where home was for her. After deciding to join the military, she finally found a sense of home, camaraderie, and brotherhood. She felt like she finally belonged somewhere, and it was something she never wanted to let go.

The military gave Crystal a lot of self-confidence and courage. It taught her to always find a way to accomplish any task. The camaraderie, trust, and bond really helped her solidify the kind of future job she was looking for outside the military. She feels she’s not truly happy in a profession unless she feels those same qualities.

After Crystal got out of the military, she started looking for jobs and found one as a line clearance tree trimmer. With that job came union membership with the IBEW. That job allowed her to become a direct hire as a senior groundsman, which is a job she loves.

John Rosckes, Crew Foreman, IBEW Local 160, said, “Crystal has a great work ethic. She’s very ambitious. Sometimes maybe a little too ambitious, you’ve got to slow her down just a little bit because she just wants to dive right into everything. She’s not shy, and she’s not afraid to do what needs to be done.”

Bob Boogren, Business Manager/Financial Secretary, IBEW Local 160, said, “It’s very important to come in confident and that’s something Crystal has. It brings more respect to the people around her when she’s able to perform the tasks she’s given. She’s hardworking, she’s willing to learn, doesn’t back away from any task given to her.”

Being a part of the IBEW has been a great experience for Crystal. Her family benefits because she doesn’t have to worry about medical coverage, income, or working multiple jobs to provide. She can be self-sufficient and independent. She can do what she needs to for her family, which was all made possible by the IBEW.

To watch more stories of veterans working in the IBEW, check out our other Band of Brotherhood episodes.


Lonnie Stephenson

IBEW International President Lonnie Stephenson has been working with the IBEW Hour Power team since he was elected International President in 2015. President Stephenson creates short videos entitled “President’s Message” to bring important announcements and inspirational messages right to your computer screen.

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