Climbing for Lost Line Workers

(L.) Joe Luzzi climbs at sunset to hang his uncle's memorial lantern during the Climbing for Lost Lineworker ceremony and vigil. (R.) Joe prepares to climb with Norm's memorial lantern.

July 9, 2021

Norm Edwards memorial lantern. At the event, 15 new lanterns were added in honor of line workers who died in the last year.

As the sun set behind the Pennsylvania hills, Met-Ed’s Joe Luzzi began to climb the pole.

But instead of tools, the first-class lineman carried a lantern – one of dozens being suspended in the darkening sky, each one lit in honor of a colleague who can no longer climb.

The “Climbing for Lost Line Workers Ceremony” and lantern vigil formed the ceremonial opening of the Fallen Line Workers Benefit Rodeo, a competition sponsored annually by the National Sisterhood United for Journeymen Linemen (NSUJL) to raise money to help support the families of line workers killed or injured while on the job.

For Joe, the lantern raising had special significance. His uncle, Met-Ed Lineman Timothy “Norm” Edwards, was fatally injured on March 9, 2008, while helping to restore power to customers following an ice storm. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 777 sponsored the pole that Joe climbed to hang the lantern in his uncle’s memory.

Approximately 1,000 people turned out for this year’s line worker rodeo competition in Hazelton, Pa. Crews from as far as California, Texas, Florida and Arizona competed in events like speed climbing and hurt-man rescues. Numerous Met-Ed employees took part in the event – with their family members on hand to provide support. Participants were judged on skill and time, with safety a paramount consideration.

Check the NSUJL website* for more about the organization’s work and the Fallen Line Workers Benefit Rodeo.

Norm Edwards Memorial Plaque at Met-Ed headquarters.

*By clicking the link in this article, you are entering a website maintained by an outside party, which is entirely responsible for the site’s content.