Electricians donate time to bring holiday lights to Roslindale
Paul Roche has been happy to use his skills as an electrician to volunteer around Boston, but doing so in his own neighborhood of Roslindale made the experience even more special for him.
On Saturday, the 50-year-old was one of more than 15 Local IBEW 103 electricians from Roslindale, South Boston and Dorchester who donated their time to wire 40 streetlights in Roslindale Village for the holiday season.
“We got a call from [City Councilor] Rob Consalvo and Mayor [Thomas] Menino asking us if we could participate in volunteering our labor,” said Michael Monahan, business manager of the union.
Starting in the chill just before 7 a.m., bucket trucks were parked in front of street lamps on Corinth, Birch and Poplar streets.
“We wanted to get done as soon as possible because if we ran into any problems, we wouldn’t want it to be at the end of the day,” Monahan said.
Monahan, 46, said the crews chose to work in the early-morning hours to minimize the impact on local businesses. True to their word, the electricians finished before most nearby businesses opened Saturday.
For 12 years, Charlie McCarthy has sat on the board of directors of Roslindale Village Main Street, and this season marks the first time the village will be lit for the holidays in 15 years, he said. The group has struggled to raise the money — $20,000, according to McCarthy — to do the wiring, and that’s about how much money IBEW 103 saves RVMS by donating their time.
“The stumbling block [for us has been] the lights — we couldn’t get them lit, couldn’t get them wired,” he said. “We’re forever grateful to 103 and our partnership with them. We can’t say enough about them.”
This is not the first time the union has volunteered its time, having done work for a Boston area veterans event and most recently for the South Boston Neighborhood House.
“This is what we do — we give back to the community,” said Roche. “Being in my hometown, I was like, ‘Absolutely, let’s get it done.’”
Next Saturday, Roslindale Village will be fully decked out for the holidays when Christmas wreaths arrive and will be hung from the street lights and lit as well. The electricians will return to hang the wreaths.
The decorations are part of the “Holiday Wander through Roslindale Village,” a weekly shopping fundraiser every Thursday through Dec. 17.
McCarthy said Main Streets is “proud” of the support the group received from the city, including help from Menino and Consalvo.
He added the group will be will be “forever grateful” to the union for “getting them over the hump” to illuminate the square.
“It will draw people here,” McCarthy said. “If you brighten a light, you warm a heart.”