Boilermaker/ Boilermakers Union

john roeber with grandson 



John Roeber

It was quite the investment that I made in June 2004. Brent, our son worked on it all summer long, well into the fall. With his hard work and determination, he finally got it up and running. After that, it then sat in the backyard for a few years. When Brent died, I had decided one weekend, which was Easter of 2006, to take the grandchildren over to the cemetery, which is only two blocks away from my home. This went on for months, and the kids looked forward to going because they took turns driving. When I look at this picture, it make me realize that you need to take in every little minute and cherish it, because life is way too short.

As a field construction boilermaker, I’d have to call the union hall and get a dispatch…then I’d have to pack all my clothes in a suitcase. I’d always have to make sure that I had all my bills with me or I’d have to pay ‘em. You’d have to make sure your car was mechanically capable of going 350 miles. You’d have to plan. You’d have to think about renting an apartment, so you’d have to get set up. Most of the time I’d room with somebody; that would help try to cut the cost. Then, you’d go there and get hired in and then you’d be working 10 hours/day, probably on the average back then was 6 days/week and then you’d go in and tear apart certain parts of the boiler and would work on it. In our profession, you have to be a highly skilled welder. That took some skill. Basically, in my day, you’d be up there for 8-10 weeks, sometimes with Sundays off. If I had Sundays off, I’d actually drive home for my day off, to try to spend time with family…In my younger days I did that.