My Idea of Family

We’ve had a lot going on the past couple of months. We went through some really personal stuff that I’m not going to discuss publicly, we’ve been bouncing around with work, and it’s just been an emotional time overall. What I am going to talk about is how living on the road, being in the tall tower industry specifically, gives you a different perspective on family. I’m specifying tall towers as opposed to cell towers because the industry is so small in comparison, and it’s what we do. It’s how we live.
Being on the road for work, and especially in this line of work, we move a lot. We are in cities and small towns and sometimes in the middle of absolutely nowhere. We stay places for a day, a few days, weeks or sometimes months depending on the job. We are in really awesome places with great weather and our friends and family at “home” think we are living the dream. Then we are in North Dakota in November and Minnesota in January and we can’t wait to move on! Regardless of all that, these guys go to work every day and have each other’s backs. They work up to 2,000ft off the ground and they count on each other. They trust each other. I trust them to watch out for Allen and I know he does the same for them.
When we need something, anything, we turn to the guys Allen works with. His brothers. My brothers. Our family. We depend on each other.  When we go out to watch the game on Sunday, we go with them. When we tie one on Saturday night, yeah, we are with the same group of guys. When I feel like trying to make a giant pot of seafood gumbo, we have them over to help eat it all! And if we are stuck on the road for holidays, everyone comes over and we celebrate together. Because we are family. This line of work isn’t easy. I don’t do it, but I live it. I’m lucky enough to live in Allen’s world and to get this extra family. My tower family.
On September 27, there was an accident in Miami, Florida and we lost 3 great tower hands. The industry is going to be hurting for a while. Even more, we lost 3 brothers. And our family will be hurting forever. BJ Anibal Rodriguez, Marcus Goffena, and Brach Barber. They were some of the best guys in the business.
I had the privilege to get to know BJ and Marcus personally over the years. Here’s a post I shared on Facebook last week…
“Family is family. On the road you get an extra family. You have a blast, you help each other, you do crazy things, you do boring things, you fight, you make up, you fight some more, you drink too much, you laugh. It’s family. These guys depend on each other every day. Every single day. I’ve gotten to be a part of this family thanks to Allen. The first time I made shrimp fried rice in Robertsdale, Alabama, Marcus said it was delicious. I shaved his back before we went to Panama City Beach and swore I’d never do it again! I got to witness the after wisdom teeth getting pulled, totally out of it, talking nonsense, like videos you see online, in Oklahoma City. I bought him soup and dropped him off at home to go to sleep. He was willing to fight for me when someone made fun of my karaoke singing at a tiny bar in an out of the way campground and he told the bartender at Outback that it was my birthday when Allen slacked on his boyfriend duties so I was surprised with some free ice cream. I watched him eat way too many medical pretzels in San Francisco and laughed when his sewer hose spewed shit all over the campground, because what can ya do?! I met a couple girlfriends who came to see him and witnessed him in action with pickup lines that I rolled my eyes at. I met his family and absolutely loved his mom Deborah Goffena. The first, and last time, we stayed on a cow farm in Oxford, North Carolina (the home of nothin’) BJ Anibal Rodríguez bought a ton of food from the store, along with some bud light platinum and huge bottle of wine for me, so I would make them lunch every day. I made my first bacon-wrapped pork loin and BJ and Allen cut it in half and finished the entire thing. BJ broke a camping chair one night, just totally fell through the seat and we laughed our asses off. He went running to his van (I called it the predator van) that night, I guess he was leaving and I didn’t want him to, so I ran after him. It was pitch black and the load line was running waist high from the hoist to the tower. We ran straight into it. He flipped over and I flew backward. Allen saw the whole thing! We had some snow days in Oklahoma City so of course we were drinking. I made two giant trays of nachos and we made BJ come help us eat them. He taught us, or tried, how to play dominos the right way. I went to pick him up from Home Depot in Palm Beach because his keys fell out of his basketball shorts and he couldn’t find them. I got some free Mexican from a food truck that day. We had AMFs all day at a Chili’s in Vacherie when it seemed like it would never stop raining and his camper turned into a house boat. These guys were family. I know these are just words, but for me I can remember all of these moments clear as day. My heart is breaking for everyone who got the joy of knowing these two men, and the realization that we will never be able to make more memories.”
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We attended Marcus’s funeral this past week. It was hard. Really hard. It absolutely sucks to lose a friend and a brother. But then there’s this added layer… Like I said before, these guys were some of the best out there. I still have to kiss Allen goodbye in the morning so he can go to work and do the same thing they were doing. It’s scary. I have to trust that he is going to be as safe as he can possibly be. And I have to somehow put my faith in whatever there is out there that he’s going to come home to me that night.
We love hard, work hard, play hard, and grieve really hard. And we do it together.
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If you would like to help the families of BJ, Marcus and Brach, donations can be made to The Hubble Foundation. They are an amazing organization and I highly suggest learning a bit about them.

 

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We are Arkansans for a while! 

We’ve been busy! We were in Indiana for a couple weeks when we left Florida, staying at Lynnville Park Campground while Allen was working at the shop in Evansville. Well, he was, I took the puppies to my mom’s in Cincinnati for a week. I got to attend the annual festival in our hometown for the first time in a few years and catch up with some friends. I also got lucky enough to be there to let some balloons go by my brother’s tree. He’d been gone for 2 years on June 18th… Continue reading

Fundraiser Donation Requests from 100+ Companies (with links) 

This is an ongoing, updated constantly, list. So bear with me as I continue to organize and add to it! Lots of these are national businesses, but some are local Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky companies (for the Kentucky Chapter of The Cure Starts Now). I’m also adding some Canton, GA businesses for the Hubble Foundation’s annual golf tournament.

***last updated: 10/12/2017

 

NATIONAL COMPANIES

Disneyworld/Disneyland (60 days) *no

Dr. Pepper/Snapple (30 days for donations, 6 months for sponsorship)

Hilton Hotels (6 weeks) *Unfortunately, your request does not fall within our global giving focus areas.

Marriott Hotels

Major League Baseball (click your team then “community”)

National Football League (click your team then “community”)

Sears/Kmart (30 days) *no

National Hockey League (click your team then “community”)

Pentel (6-8 weeks)

American Girl (6 weeks)

Benchmade Knives (60 days, one request per year)

Otterbox (8 weeks) *90 gift certificate

TopGolf (30 days, within 40 miles of a TopGolf location)

Cracker Barrel 

Gourmet Gift Baskets (7days)

The North Face (6 weeks)

Carhartt 

Camping World

Charcoal Grill

Orion Coolers

Grizzly Coolers (60 days)

Easton Hunting (6 weeks)

Cabela’s (60 days)

Lancaster Archery Supply

Kodiak Coolers

Subway

Kershaw

Henry Repeating Arms

Gerber Gear (60 days)

Harbor Freight (8 weeks)

Nikon (6 months)

GoPro 

Cinemark

Please send the details of your request to communications@cinemark.com for entry into the drawing, provide your 501 (c)(3) documentation or federal tax id# and include the date of your event in the Subject line.

Kitchenaid

Cuisinart

Crate and Barrel

Tilted Kiltgm229@tiltedkilt.com

JoAnn Fabrics:public.relations@joann.com

Land’s End: donate@landsend.com

Portrait Innovations: requests@portraitinnovations.com

Tiny Prints: sponsorship@tinyprints.com

QVC: QVCCommunityAffairs@QVC.com

Stampin’ Up: demos@stampinup.com

Igloo Coolers: donations@igloocorp.com or sponsorship@igloocorp.com

Thorntonsgivingback@thorntonsinc.com (6-8 weeks)

Bobby’s Burger Palacecustomerservice@bobbysburgerpalace.com (include location)

 

Duck Commander: customerservice@duckcommander.com

 

Six Flags Great Adventure

P.O. Box 120

Jackson, NJ 08527

 

 

Adidas America

Attn: Donation Committee

5055 N. Greeley Avenue

Portland, OR 97217

 

 

Remington Arms Co.

Attn: Consumer Support Specialists

PO Box 700

870 Remington Dr.

Madison, NC  27025

 

 

Justin Brands, Inc.
Attn: Sponsorship/Donation
PO Box 548
Fort Worth, TX 76101-0547

 

 

Attn: Sponsorship Requests

Mossy Oak

PO Box 757

West Point, MS  39773

 

 

Hitachi Power Tools

Attn: Donation Request

1111 Broadway Avenue

Braselton, GA  30517

 

 

CINCINNATI/NORTHERN KENTUCKY/LOUISVILLE

Ugly Stik (90 days)

Cincinnati Reds (4 weeks) *tickets

Cincinnati Bengals (6 weeks)

Cincinnati Cyclones (7-10 business days)

Mike’s Car Wash (2 weeks) *$50 bucket

Izzy’s (45 days, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area)

Cincinnati Museum Center (45 days)

Moerlein Lager House (Cincinnati, OH)

Wooden Cask Brewing Company (Covington, KY)

The Yard House (Cincinnati, OH)

Braxton Brewing Company (Covington, KY)

MadTree Brewing Company (Cincinnati, OH)

Louisville Zoo

Mail request on letterhead with 501c3 number & #10 SASE to:

Keith Dunn

1100 Trevilian Way

Louisville, KY 40213

21cMuseum Hotels

American Legacy Tours (Cincinnati/NKY)

Riverside Food Tours (Cincinnati/NKY)

Perfect North Slopes (Cincinnati/NKY) *tickets

Boone County Distilling Co.  :  sara@boonedistilling.com

Muscle Gear USA

Crunch

First Watch

Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar

Nada

Boca

Thunderdome Restaurants

Sotto

Jeff Ruby/The Precinct

 

Mariel Wood

Director

The Jeff Ruby Foundation

700 Walnut Street, Suite 200

Cincinnati, OH 45202

Office: 513.321.8080 Ext. 15

Fax: 513.533.6161

Email: mariel.wood@jeffruby.com

Website: http://www.jeffruby.com

Senate Pub

Scottis Cincinnati

Palomino

Skyline Chili

Frisch’s Big Boy

Bar Louie

City BBQ

Newport Aquarium

McCormick and Schmicks

BrickHouse Pub & Grub

Drake’s Florence

Katy Thomas, Office Administrator/Donations | Bluegrass Hospitality Group | 3347 Tates Creek Road | Lexington, KY 40502
W: 859-335-6500 ext:6 | F: 859-335-1815

Holler Hops & Grill

Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar

The Hot Spot

Riverbend

Speedway

Thornton’s

Sunoco

Marathon

Autozone (90 days)

Minuteman Press

Fabulous Frames & Art

Ralice Custom Framing & Art Gallery

Walton Florist & Gifts

Flowerama Kentucky

18 @ Radisson (the revolving restaurant)

Queen City Riverboats

Secret Garden Florist

Elk Creek Vineyardsshanna@ecvwinery.com

Rumpke

 

 

CINCINNATI/NORTHERN KENTUCKY/LOUISVILLE

Swan Floral: swanfloral@fuse.net

Riverside Marina Bar & Grill: riversidemarina@gmail.com

BB Riverboats: info@bbriverboats.com

Bulkhead Mountain Grill: charity@buckheadmanagement.com

Blue Line Pro: cs@bluelinepro.com

Haney Custom Framing: haneyframing@fuse.net

Noel’s Wildlife Artistry, Inc.: noemtaxidermy@aol.com

Smoke Justis: info@smokejustis.com

River Valley Winery (Carrollton, KY): vkgeo@rivervalleywinery.com

Atwood Hill Winery (Atwood, KY): info@atwoodhillwinery.com

Angel’s Envy Distillery (Louisville, KY): info@angelsenvy.com

Kentucky Peerless Distilling Co. (Louisville, KY): contact@kentuckypeerless.com

Xhila Racing (Florence, KY): info@xrkarting.com

Bulleit Frontier Whiskeybulleitbourbon@consumer-care.net ; bulleit@taylorstrategy.com

Eli’s Barbequecomments@elisbarbeque.com

Taft Ale Houseinfo@taftalehouse.com

The Melting Potcincinnatimelt@live.com

The Montgomery Inncommunity@montgomeryinn.com

Blinker’s Tavernsmeyer@blinkerstavern.com

The Garage OTRinfo@thegarageotr.com

Cincy Brew Businfo@cincybrewbus.com

Florence Fun Domeflorencefundome@aol.com

Lazer Krazekentuckyparties@lazerkraze.com

Rhinegeist Brewing Company: sponsorships@rhinegeist.com

Top Flight Gymnastics (Crestview Hills, KY): tfgym@topflightgymnastics.com

Florence Freedom: mjohnson@florencefreedom.com

Pompilio’s Restaurantmanagers@pompiliosky.com

Restaurant Linfo@LCincinnati.com

Hotel Covingtoninfo@hotelcovington.com

Nicolas OTRcontact@nicolasotr.com

Jack Casino Cincinnatiinfojci@jackentertainment.com

Green Derby Kentuckygreenderbykentucky@gmail.com

LaRosa’s: donations@larosas.com

Boone County Distilling Co.: sara@boonedistilling.com

 

CINCINNATI/NORTHERN KENTUCKY/LOUISVILLE

 

Hofbrauhaus Newport

200 East 3rd St.

Newport, KY 41071

 

 

New Riff Distillery

24 Distillery Way

Newport, KY 41073

 

 

Smokin’ This and That BBQ

10020 Demia Way

Florence, KY 41042

 

 

Gangsters Dueling Piano Bar

18 E. 5th Street

Newport, KY 41071

 

HUBBLE FOUNDATION ideas for donations

DBI SALA – dbifallprotection.com 800-467-9005

TENACIOUS ERGODYNE WORKGEAR – ergodyne.com
PETZL – petzl.com
FALLTECH – falltech.com 800-719-4619
MILWAUKEE – milwaukeetool.com 800-729-3878
GUARDIAN FALL PROTECTION – guardianfall.com
MSA, THE SAFETY COMPANY – msasafety.cominfo.us@MSAsafety.com 800-672-2222
WESTFALL PRO – westfallpro.cominfo@westfallpro.com  573-355-5470
STERLING
CHANCE/HUBBELL – hubbellpowersystems.com
FIELDSENSE – fieldsense.com
MILLER
FRENCH CREEK PRODUCTION – frenchcreekproduction.comjasonw@frenchcreekproduction.com (pres.)
KLEIN TOOLS – kleintools.com  847-821-5500
ELK RIVER – elkriver.com
PIP, PROTECTIVE INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS – us-m.pipglobal.com 800-262-5755
ERICO/PENTAIR – erico.com  800-753-9221
PMI
SKYLOTEC – skylotec.com  303-544-2120
BUCKINHAM BUCKTECH
GME SUPPLY – gmesupply.com
JSP
KONG
PROTECTA
T-REIGN
ROCK EXOTICA – rockexotica.com
LIFTEX
TILLMAN
SQWINCHER
TRUEWERK
CARHARTT – carhartt.com  800-833-3118
OLIVER BOOTMAKERS – oliversafetyboots.com 855-377-2668
HOUGEN
IRWIN
SCOTCH
3M
KENWOOD – kenwood.com
MOTOROLA
SAFETY LMS – safetylms.com
PELICAN ROPE
GRAINGER – grainger.com  800-217-6872
TIMBERLAND
LOWE’S
HOME DEPOT
NORTHERN TOOL
SKULL GARD

Working a job that tells you where to go has it’s benefits… 

We were down in Orange City, Florida for 2 weeks while Allen was working on a tower there. They finished up the Tuesday before Memorial Day and we were supposed to head to a job near Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Then the customer in Arkansas decided he didn’t want to be off the air while they worked on his line for his antenna so he was contemplating getting a standby antenna (so he could still broadcast but his signal just wouldn’t be as strong as the main one). So the company told us to sit tight while he decided. All the equipment was on the site in Orange City that they needed in Arkansas so we got a couple days off.  Continue reading

Leaving Lynnville

We left Lynnville Park Campground in Indiana this morning. We had a really nice spot this time, and rent is only $130/week for a 50amp FHU pull thru… Allen has to start work in Jacksonville on Friday so we have a couple days to get there.  Continue reading

Adventures as Wichitans!

Hi all! I guess now’s a good a time as any to write a blog post and catch you all up on our extended stay in Wichita, Kansas!

I thought we were going to be out of there a couple weeks ago, but they added a little something to the job, so we got almost another two weeks out of it. The weather in Kansas, in the spring, is not super conducive to tall tower work, that’s for sure! So that added a little time to our stay.  Continue reading

Spring Cleaning

We’ve been in Kansas for a week now. (At the All Seasons RV Park)  After the first day, we asked to switch sites.  It’s the first time we’ve ever asked anything like that but the original spot they put us in was super close to our neighbors. We couldn’t walk out of our door without stepping on their welcome mat… 

Continue reading

Work, play, and more work!

I left off with a post before the Super Bowl. I can’t believe it’s been that long! But we’ve been busy, each in our own way…

The Xenia job was a mess from the start so what was supposed to take 2 weeks, actually took 5! We stayed at Frontier Campground in Waynesville, Ohio for the 2nd time. Waynesville is about an hour from our hometown, so we had our friends come up for a night to hang out. That was a blast!

We’ve all been friends for about 20 years! (Katie, me, Allen, Brandi)

Continue reading