Electrical Connection Aids Disabled Mother In Unsafe Home

Bad wiring

Debbie Augustine’s home was rife with improper wiring and unsafe electrical installations.

ST. LOUIS – Debbie Augustine thought she was on the threshold of stabilizing her life after recovering from a coma and a serious illness. The 47-year-old mother bought a home next door to her parents’ house on Mitchell Avenue in St. Louis only to find it had serious electrical issues that would cost $4,800 to repair.

Jim Curran points to one of the electrical issues

Jim Curran of the Electrical Connection points to one of the electrical issues in Debbie Augustine’s home as Augustine looks on.


“My daughter and I had been through so much and it finally looked like we going to have a home of our own,” said Augustine. “But the electrical issues were overwhelming, creating unsafe living conditions. I had limited resources to buy the home and nothing left for the needed repairs.”

After buying the home in the 69-hundred block of Mitchell and learning of its electrical issues, Augustine met Jim Curran, executive vice president of the Electrical Connection, a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA). Curran detailed Augustine’s plight to the Electrical Connection board and within days the IBEW/NECA partnership agreed to pay for the electrical repairs.

“The Electrical Connection is such a blessing in my life,” said Augustine. “IBEW/NECA rebuilt my electrical systems ensuring my daughter and I can live safely in our new home.”

Augustine’s medical issues began two years ago when she suffered a cardiopulmonary illness that put her in a coma for seven days. Forced onto disability, Augustine and her daughter, Dakota, moved in with her parents who lived on Mitchell Ave. in St. Louis. “I was grateful, but for my parents, myself and my daughter it was cramped quarters,” said Augustine.

Augustine said she thought her prayers were answered when the home next door went up for sale. But after purchasing it, she learned it had significant issues with the electrical service into to the home, including improper wiring, a rusted out circuit panel, overloaded circuits, lighting and junction boxes in need of repair.

Kevin Stecher begins work on installing a new mast and   weather head

IBEW Local 1’s Kevin Stecher begins work on installing a new mast and weather head for incoming electrical service to Debbie Augustine’s home.


“I thought it was a dream come true, but it took the Electrical Connection to make that happen,” said Augustine. NECA contractor Northwest Electric Co., Inc. teamed with IBEW to make the repairs on August 4, 2017.

This is not the first time the Electrical Connection has responded to a community need. For 14 years, the IBEW/NECA partnership has supported Rebuilding Together St. Louis. Since 2003, the partnership has donated labor and more than $825,000 in materials to improve more than 485 homes for low-income, disabled and elderly St. Louisans. It also supports Habitat for Humanity St. Louis in building new homes.

Members of the Electrical Connection provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.

Kevin Stecher and Kevin Brautigam working

Left to right, IBEW electricians Kevin Stecher and Kevin Brautigam working for Northwest Electric make repairs to Debbie Augustine’s home.