Last Run: BLET VP Paul Wingo
Vice President Paul Wingo retired following the BLET's First Quadrennial Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, after spending 40 years in the railroad industry and 37 years as a BLE/BLET officer.
"I will look back on my years of service to the BLE and BLET and know that everytime I was called upon, I helped in every way I possibly could," Brother Wingo said. "Most often, I was involved in representing our members in formal investigations all across the Norfolk Southern system, but I also regularly assisted on health and welfare and Railroad Retirement Disability issues."
Brother Wingo was elected to the office of First Alternate International Vice President at the BLE's Seventh Quinquennial International Convention in Miami in September of 2001, and was elevated to the office of Vice President on November 1, 2002, following the retirement of Vice President Joe Cassidy.
Wingo is a member of BLE Division 198 (Chattanooga, Tenn.). Immediately prior to his elevation to Vice President, he served as Secretary-Treasurer of the Norfolk Southern (Southern Region) General Committee of Adjustment from 1986 to 2002 and as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Tennessee State Legislative Board from 1982 to 2002.
Following four years of active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, Brother Wingo began his railroad career in 1966 when he hired out as a switchman on the Southern Railroad. He was promoted to the position of locomotive engineer in 1969 and joined the BLET in September of that year.
A Career of Service
Throughout his career, Brother Wingo held numerous elected positions. He served Division 198 as Secretary-Treasurer from 1969-1986, Legislative Representative from 1980-2000 and Local Chairman from 1986-2001.
He was a delegate to the 1986, 1991 and 2001 BLE International Conventions. He served on the Board of Appeals from 1987 to 1996. Outside of the BLE/BLET, he served from 1996 to 2002 on the Board of Directors of the Brotherhood's Relief and Compensation Fund.
"I had the honor for 37 years of being elected to serve the membership," Brother Wingo said. "I took that honor seriously."
As a Vice President, Brother Wingo's assignments included working for the Norfolk Southern General Committees of Adjustment. He also served as the BLET's Security Officer, working with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters to develop security procedures for our nation's railroads. Additionally, he worked to negotiate contracts for shortline railroads.
"It was really an eye opener to get outside of the NS system and see the shortlines," Brother Wingo said. "It was a challenge to get these people, who so wanted a union, organized. It took a lot of dedication on their part."
The Wingo Family
Brother Wingo and his wife Linda were married on October 2, 1965. The couple has two sons, Lt. Col. (select) Carl David Wingo, USAF, and Paul Lebron Wingo, who is a locomotive engineer and the Local Chairman of BLET Division 198. The couple has three grandchildren, Hannah, who is 7; Garrett, 5; and Sage, 1.
"I am proud of both of my sons," Brother Wingo said. "Through their work, they have chosen to serve in different ways."
Brother Wingo is continuing to help railroad workers, even after his retirement, by working as the Director of Railroad Claims and Disabilities for Matthews and Steele, a BLET designated legal counsel firm.
"My passion was always hearings and investigations and taking this job was a way to stay involved with that," Brother Wingo said. "I am pleased to have found a way to continue helping members, after 37 years, I couldn't stop cold turkey."
In addition to his new position, Brother Wingo and Linda have been taking trips and plan several more, including an upcoming cruise to the Western Caribbean and a possible cruise to Alaska. Brother Wingo also cruises a little closer to home with is wife and grandson, on his boat that is docked in a marina near his home. He has "gotten back into fishing" since his retirement and is planning on duck hunting too.
Additionally, he plans to get involved in more activities through his church, possibly joining the Giddeons.
Do not be surprised if you see Brother Wingo at regional meetings in the future. He plans on attending next year's Southeastern Meeting Association (SMA) in Florida. He also plans to continue his membership in the BLET-PAC and urges other retirees to do so.
"I am going to try to stay involved in BLET activities," Brother Wingo said. "I plan on actively monitoring legislation in the U.S. House and Senate and writing to my Congressman and Senators on issues that I think are important to the BLET."
While Brother Wingo plans an active retirement, he said his main goal is simply being a "good grand-daddy" to Hannah, Garrett and Sage (and others that might come along).
© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen