Brother Keith Shambaugh and his family had their lives permanently altered when he was hit by a truck while riding his motorcycle in early May.

Keith Shambaugh poses with his son in this family photo.

Shambaugh, president of Local 600 in Cumberland, Md., since 2022, was broadsided on U.S. 50 in Augusta, W.Va. His injuries required amputation of his right leg above the knee, both his arms were seriously injured along with numerous other serious injuries. 

An online fundraiser has been set up to help support him and his family as he faces a long and arduous rehabilitation period and not be able to return to his profession as a locomotive engineer.

Married with one child, Brother Shambaugh has been involved for years as a local officers, first serving as trustee in 2008, alternate legislative representative in 2009 and president in 2022.

He began working for CSX as a conductor in October 2000. He completed his training in the spring in 2008 and established seniority as engineer, the profession he has worked since.

“We would appreciate if you could support this effort to secure some much-needed funds for their family,” Maryland State Legislative Director Larry Kasecamp said.

In this country, Memorial Day is a time when we remember service members who have passed on before us, then gather with friends and family around a barbecue grill and focus on what is important in our lives.

Brother Devan Harris of SMART-TD Local 1594 was killed on Memorial Day, May 27, 2024, in a drive-by shooting in Philadelphia.

SMART-TD Local 1594 member and SEPTA bus operator Devan Harris and his family were doing just that when their world was forever shattered last week.

At a cookout in Philadelphia, Brother Harris and his girlfriend were enjoying their day with their daughter, Luna, when Devan killed in the senseless violence of a drive-by shooting.

Devan and his girlfriend, Constance Johnson-Walker, both are members of Local 1594. Together they were building a life for their 2-year-old daughter, Luna. As their SEPTA coworkers know, Devan was a dedicated father and the kind of union brother we grew to count on.

Brother Harris’s young family is counting on us. If you are able, please donate to the GoFundMe account SMART-TD established for Constance and Luna.

Our union sister needs the support of the SMART-TD family in her time of need.

Our union, Local 1503 in Marysville, Kan., the Kansas State Legislative Board and GCA 953 mourn the loss of Brother Benjamin “Ben” Berger.

Benjamin Berger of Local 1503.

A strong union brother always willing to do his part for his union, his community, and his family, he was reported missing earlier this week and his body was found late Thursday night. Unfortunately, authorities say he did not survive a car wreck on Saturday, February 17, the day he went missing.

Ben was a Union Pacific conductor and a proud member of Local 1503. He hired out in North Platte, Nebraska, in 2011 and was with SMART-TD for all 13 years he has been on the rail. Berger also donated his time away from the rail to his community as a member of his local volunteer fire department.

With Brother Berger’s passing, SMART-TD is asking our union brothers and sisters to lend support to Ben’s wife and family in their time of need. Kansas State Legislative Director Ty Dragoo, a fellow member of Local 1503, has organized an online fundraiser to benefit Brother Berger’s loved ones. If able, please donate in memory of our fallen brother.

The SMART Transportation Division offers its sincere condolences to Brother Berger’s friends, family, his Local 1503 brother’s and sisters and all who knew him in this difficult time of loss.

His family as well as members of Local 210 in San Antonio are mourning the death of Brother Charlies Scherbarth on Feb. 6, 2024.

Brother Charlie Scherbarth of Local 210 in San Antonio passed away Feb. 6, 2024, at age 30.
Brother Charlie Scherbarth of Local 210 in San Antonio passed away on Feb. 6, 2024, at age 30.

Brother Scherbarth, 30, was a member of our union for nearly a decade, joining in November 2014. He worked as an engineer for BNSF.

An online fundraiser has been established for his family, including his wife, Megan, by Local Chairperson Gary Relic.

“Charlie was well liked by everyone he came across and loved by those privileged to know him well. Constantly smiling and showing off pictures of his wife, fur babies, family, and his quail, Charlie was of good character and always projected a happy soul,” LC Relic wrote in the fundraiser. “He will forever be remembered.”

Visitation is scheduled 2 to 3 p.m. Friday, February 16, 2024, at Finch Funeral Chapel in La Vernia, Texas, with a memorial service beginning at 3.

The SMART Transportation Division expresses its sincere condolences to Brother Scherbarth’s family, his Local 210 brothers and sisters and all who knew him.

Dexter Perkins

An online fundraiser has been set up for the survivors of Dexter Perkins, a member of Local 171 (Aurora, Ill.), after he was slain in an act of violence Dec. 22 in Wheaton, Illinois.

Brother Perkins, 37, had been a member of our union since September 2022 and worked as a conductor for BNSF before his death.

He leaves behind two daughters, Brynn and Blair, and his mother as well as his brothers and sisters in Local 131.

To contribute, please follow this link.

“I’m sure anyone who knows Dexter will agree we were all truly blessed to call him our friend, and the amount of lives he touched is insurmountable,” wrote friend David Killingsworth, who organized the fundraiser. “The family he’s left behind has been shaken to their core.”

Visitation is scheduled 9 to 11 a.m. Jan. 5 at Lighthouse Church Cook County, 4501 W. 127th St., Alsip, IL 60803 with services immediately following from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

Burial will take place in Glenwood, Illinois. 

A celebration of Brother Perkins’ life will occur Jan. 7 beginning at 11 a.m. at the Piazza Aurora, 85 Executive Dr, Aurora, IL, 60504. For information, visit the After Life Chicago website.

SMART-TD expresses its sincere condolences to Brother Perkins’ family, friends and all who knew him.

It is with heavy hearts that the members of the SMART Transportation Division and Local 857 mourn the passing of colleague and friend, Michael Moilanen. Michael served as a conductor for Amtrak and was a valued member of Local 857 out of San Antonio, Texas. Michael’s untimely departure has left a profound void in our union family and his tight-knit crew base.

Amtrak conductor Michael Moilanen passed away, leaving behind a wife and two children. An online fundraiser has been established to assist his family.

Michael, who was just 43 years old, was known for his high railroad IQ and all-around intelligence. He worked as a conductor and an assistant conductor and had a decade on the rail with Amtrak. His dedication to his work and his willingness to share his knowledge was a testament to his character.

In the words of another Local 857 conductor — “Michael was a great guy to work with. He was the kind of guy you looked forward to getting called with. Conversations with Michael were always interesting. He was a very smart guy and had a great way of explaining things in a way that was relatable. Michael was a good railroader too. He didn’t just know the rules, he understood the reasoning behind them. He was the guy you wanted to have on the train with you. Michael was one of those guys you knew you could trust. He will be very missed around here.”

Beyond his dedication to his railroad family, Michael was a loving husband to his wife, Kayla, and a devoted father to their two children, Audrey and Ethan. Audrey, now a college freshman in New Mexico, and Ethan, who is turning 7 this month, were the light of Michael’s life. He cherished every moment he spent with his family and his love for them was immeasurable.

Michael Moilanen’s journey was cut short far too soon as he passed away at the away-from-home terminal in the hotel in Fort Worth, Texas, while working Amtrak 22, better known as the Texas Eagle.

Michael’s memory will live on in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing him, working alongside him and riding his train. He was a remarkable colleague, a loving father, and a devoted husband, and his loss is deeply felt by all who knew him.

As we grieve the loss of Michael Moilanen, let us come together as a union family to support his wife, Kayla, and their children, Audrey and Ethan, during this difficult time. Together, we can ensure that his legacy endures and that his family is cared for in their time of need. If you are able to do so, please consider following this link to the GoFundMe online fundraiser established to support Michael’s wife and children.

As a union, we are reaching out to request your support of one of our brothers in his moment of need. Brother Greg Nunez from SMART-TD Local 898 (Boston, Mass.) has been a SMART-TD member for over nine years.

He works as a conductor for Keolis in commuter service. More importantly, Nunez has a young family at home in the Greater Boston area, and the circumstances surrounding a kidney and pancreatic transplant surgery have him stranded in Orlando, Florida away from his two beautiful children and his family support network.

Conductor Greg Nunez poses for a photo with a young patient during a hospital visit. Brother Nunez of Local 898 in Boston is contending with his own health problems and his family is asking for assistance.

After years of hoping and waiting for that call, Greg had the good fortune of being paired with a donor of a kidney and pancreas that was compatible. The only problem was that the donor was in Orlando, Florida, 1,293 miles away from Boston.

Initially, this meant an insignificant 2 1/2-hour flight. Unfortunately for Brother Nunez, this surgery that was the key to unlocking a long and productive future with his family has taken a turn for the worse, and he is stranded in Orlando in need of funds to pay for a Med-Flight back to Massachusetts.

Post-surgery, Brother Nunez suffered a stroke due to the effects his life-long battle with diabetes has had on his body. He has subsequently undergone seven surgeries and is currently on machines to assist his breathing.

His wife, Katherine, has been with him in Florida for an extended period, but the strain of being with her recuperating spouse in Orlando while raising a family in Boston is as expensive as it is exhausting.

SMART-TD is asking that you consider donating to Nunez’s GoFundMe account and help Katherine get our brother back to Boston where family, friends and Local 898 can help support Greg’s family while he focuses on beginning his long path to recovery.

John Trembczynski, vice local chairperson of LCA 623/IHB, and former three-term Local President of Local 1381 (Hammond, Ind.) has been forced into early retirement due to a series of bouts with cancer.  

Brother John Trembczynski of Local 1381 is fighting cancer.

Brother Trembcynski has been on the railroad as a conductor and engineer for Chicago Rail Link, Norfolk Southern and Indiana Harbor Belt since his honorable discharge from the United States Navy in 1988.  

Having served SMART-TD and our predecessor, the UTU, in many capacities, Trembczynski has led as a vice local chairperson, a GCA vice chairperson, and local president spanning from the early 1990s until 2022.  

In addition to his formal roles, John has always been known as a strong union brother who fights for his members. He has gone out of his way to shepherd new conductors and engineers and has given all of himself to this union.  

John has already faced kidney cancer in 2022, as well as a brain tumor that was removed in the spring of 2023. Unfortunately, SMART-TD has recently found out that his cancer is back and has spread to his lungs and other organs. Now is the moment when SMART-TD and its members have an opportunity to give back to Brother Trembczynski for his years of service. 

Fellow Local 1381 member Brother Justin Skripac has started a GoFundMe campaign to assist John and his loved ones in his time of need. If you are able to do so, SMART-TD is asking you to consider following this link to Brother Trembczynski’s GoFundMe page and giving what you can. 

All who know John know that he is a fighter and the epitome of the guy you never count out. Please help us circle the wagons around him in this moment and show how united SMART-TD is.  

The SMART Transportation Division and Local 610 out of Baltimore are mourning the loss of a fallen brother who had his life and career ahead of him.

Derek Scott “D.S.” Little, a trainee due to join SMART-TD Local 610, was killed in a rail accident June 26.

Derek Scott “D.S.” Little, 28, was days away from marking up for the first time as a certified conductor with CSX and was slated to begin his career as a SMART-TD member on July 1st. Engaged to be married, he was two weeks away from the due date for his first child.

Derek was at a point in his life when everything was coming together perfectly. Tragically, it was all taken away from him the evening of June 26th while working at Seagirt Marine Terminal in Baltimore.

Brother Little was involved in an accident while riding on equipment. He didn’t survive to see the birth of his son Logan Matthew Little, or to be married to his fiancée, Kaytee Burns. Well-liked in the crew room, he had a promising career ahead of him in Local 610. More importantly, as his obituary states, “Derek was a kindhearted, goofy, lovable young man who never missed a chance to make you laugh. He loved his family and friends and was looking forward to being a dad.” Beyond his love for his family, he also enjoyed learning about Civil War history and playing golf.

Railroaders know the financial significance of Derek having passed away four days before being marked up, and the financial significance to his fiancée and mother of his unborn son that comes with the fact that he passed away prior to them being married. His family will not receive the same level of support from the carrier and the insurance companies as they would have under different circumstances.

For that reason, SMART-TD is asking all who can to close ranks around this young railroad family in their worst moment and show what it means to be part of this union.

We ask that you follow this link to a GoFundMe online fundraiser established by Local 610’s Safety Committee representative to benefit Kaytee and Logan.

Read his obituary.

General Chairperson Craig Patch (GCA-TMM) is facing a diagnosis of brain cancer and a fundraiser has been established to help him and his family through a difficult time.

GC Craig Patch

LCA-TMM Secretary Michael Jenkins said Brother Patch faces a treatment period of a year to 18 months. He will begin chemo treatments Aug. 29.

GC Patch has been a loyal member of our union since he began working at CATS (Charlotte Area Transit System). In addition to his term as GC, he’s been a vice chairperson and legislative representative for Charlotte’s Local 1596.

“Craig has dedicated his service to UTU and SMART as a representative for many years. It is now time for us to give back to him,” Jenkins said. “Any help will be greatly appreciated.” 

To donate, visit this link.