The Linemen Institute of the North East (L.I.N.E.) in Saugerties recently donated $5,000 to the Saugerties Food Pantry as a way of helping their neighbors in a community they call home in the hopes of making a difference in the lives of those who are having a tough time and to encourage other local businesses to do the same.
Donald and Nanci Leiching, founders of L.I.N.E., also decided to offer a COVID-19 scholarship for the summer 2020 class at L.I.N.E., a profession built around maintaining and repairing electrical lines. The scholarship winner was Matthew Paladino from Port Chester, NY. Participants were asked to write an essay about why they should receive the scholarship and why they decided to pursue a career in lineworking.
Paladino said he started out at a young age assisting his dad in his small general contractor business where he learned about hard work and the value of the hard-earned dollar. During the past few years, he started looking for a career change — one that would give him stability and lead to a prosperous and fulfilling career. A few months before the outbreak of the coronavirus, he started to save money to attend L.I.N.E., after researching the school online. But due to COVID-19, he was laid off from his job, and without the scholarship, he would not have been able to attend the institute.
L.I.N.E. received numerous entries for the scholarship. The L.I.N.E. scholarship committee consisted of founders Donald and Nanci Leiching; Brinnah Leiching, communications coordinator at L.I.N.E.; a few of the past students; and a family friend who has been employed in the utility industry in Connecticut for decades. The committee was unanimous with its appreciation of Paladino’s story. “We were all very impressed by the timeline of his progress and his determination,” wrote the committee. “Being mechanically inclined is something that electric utilities look for in a potential employee, as well as an understanding of the necessity of a good work ethic and a can-do attitude. Matthew has shown us in his essay that he has what it takes to become a line worker. Now it is time for L.I.N.E. to help make that happen.”
Lisa Gardner is the office coordinator at L.I.N.E.