"Joe" Dickey Electric installing light pole at The Walnut Grove in Canfield.

Curbing vandals: Dickey Electric rallies with electricians to light up Walnut Grove playground

“Joe” Dickey Electric, along with the Youngstown and Warren LMCCs, helped secure the popular Walnut Grove inclusive playground in Canfield by installing a large LED light fixture at no cost to the local non-profit organization.

The project was in response to a call for help after property damage from vandalism in 2023. The Walnut Grove board felt the playground was a relatively easy target because of its dark and remote location near the bike trail. After hearing about the damage, Dickey Electric reached out and offered to install lighting and donate the labor costs.

The LMCCs, comprised of IBEW Locals 64 and 573 as well as local signatory contractors, covered the cost for the pole and LED light fixtures. It was installed in July and now sits between the parking lot and playground.

Dickey Electric preparing to mount light pole at The Walnut Grove
John Herchik, with apprentice Anthony Petrella, of Dickey Electric, pull wiring in preparation to mount the light pole.

Setting the light pole

Electricians ran power underground from the service box on the property to the light pole. A crew from Lincoln Rental in Salem dug the trench for the underground wiring at half the cost.

“We’re 100 percent volunteer and have no paid staff. We’re supported solely by the community as a non-profit organization,” said Karen Conkey, board president, The Walnut Grove. “Having Dickey Electric reach out is just so touching.”

"Joe" Dickey Electric installing light pole at The Walnut Grove in Canfield.
Lifting and mounting of light pole at The Walnut Grove.

Dickey Electric’s John Herchik and first-year apprentice Anthony Petrella were responsible for setting up the pole and installing the lights.

“I’m one of the guys who can run the line trucks, and this project has been on the list, so I volunteered to get it done,” Herchik said.

Securing the light pole and wiring for the light pole at The Walnut Grove.
John Herchik securing light pole and wiring.

He said it was important for Petrella to get as much experience as he could. For this, it meant operating the bucket truck and going to new heights to complete the job.

“It’s a different beast working up high and dealing with wind. Sometimes it’s hard because you just want to tell them how to do everything. However, letting apprentices figure things out only helps them going forward.”

Installing the LED lamps for light pole.
Anthony Petrella installing LED lamps.

Consistent community support

Conkey is continually humbled by the community’s generosity in times of need.

“We’re so, so grateful. We had to do something. There’s also a little library at the playground, and it was vandalized in January. Thankfully, someone in the community offered to replace that. We’re very fortunate.”

She says Walnut Grove is also in the process of getting cameras installed to monitor the property.

“There are families with children and grandchildren using the playground. They want to see it last, so I think that’s why there’s so much support,” Conkey said.

John Herchik and Anthony Petrella, of Dickey Electric, at The Walnut Grove light pole.
Dickey Electric reached out to The Walnut Grove following vandalism about lighting up the playground for security.

For Dickey Electric, the opportunity to step in was an easy decision.

“Walnut Grove has been such a positive force for youth in our community. We felt it made sense to provide them some security lighting,” said Eric Carlson, president, “Joe” Dickey Electric.

Dickey Electric is a member contractor of NECA-IBEW Electricians, an association consisting of IBEW Local 64 in Youngstown, IBEW Local 573 in Warren and signatory electrical contractors throughout the Mahoning Valley.