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HISTORY

Pioneers 1911

November 2, 1911

Telephone Pioneers of America was founded in Boston at a meeting oat the Somerset Hotel. The first membership paper proposing the formation of the Bell System Telephone Pioneers had been circulated by Henry Pope, Charles Truex, and Thomas Doolittle in 1910.  In attendance at the 1911 Boston meeting were 244 founding members including Alexander Graham Bell.  The major goals were to perpetuate the ideals and traditions of the industry and promote the fellowships that were formed as a natural result of their teamwork.  Dues were fixed at $5 for the first year and $2 for each thereafter.  Membership was initially reserved for employees having 21 years of service in the telephone inudstry.

1922

Members wanted local activities.  Since there was no provision for fraternal contact other than at annual Association meetings, groups of Pioneers petitioned the Association executive committee for permission to organize chapters.  The first 12 Pioneers chapters were chartered.

1930

Life Member classification was established and in 1935, the first Life Member Club was formed in the Charles Fleetford Sise Chapter, Canada.

1937

The Pioneers General Assembly adopted a plan to divide the Association in 17 sections along company lines.

1942

The Association territory is realigned into twelve sections.

March 3-10, 1953

First “Pioneer Week” proclaimed by Governor Lausche of Ohio.

1958

It was officially delcared at the Pioneers General Assembly in Chicago, IL, that community service was part of the Pioneers mission.  Many initial Pioneer activities centered around putting the skills of the membership to work in meeting the needs of the disabled, particularly the hearing-impaired.

1960

Pioneers began to repair “Talking Book” machines for the visually disabled in collaboration with the National Library of Congress/CNIB.

1964

Charlie Fairbanks invents the beeping baseball which marks the beginning of baseball for the visually impaired and blind athletes through the National Beep Baseball Association, a Pioneers project partner.  The Pioneers continue to fit a regulation 16-inch softball and equp it with a specially designed rechargeable beeping device.  The development of the beeping baseball will eventually lead Pioneers to develop and manufacture the beeping Easter Egg for visually impaired children.  In 2009, Pioneers provided beeping Easter Eggs for the annual White House Easter Egg Hunt.

1972

The first International Telephone Pioneers Family Campers campout held in Kitchener, Ontario.

1976

The original Pioneers Hug-a-Bear rolled off the Pioneers assembly line and into the arms of ailing children in hospitals.  Additions to the family have included Smart Bear, who comes complete with a children’s book and Buckls, the Safety Bear, who is used to teach children to value of wearing a seatbelt.  Pioneers keep police, fire, and emergency units stocked with these hand-made bears to be used when children are involved in traumatic situations.  Pioneers continue to sew bears today as well as Heart Pilows which are designed to aid patients recovering from heart surgery.

1982

Pioneers start making Hand-Operated Tricycles (HOT Trikes) provided at no cost to children who have limited or no use of their legs.

1984

Pioneers participate in the Olympic Games torch relay.

1985

Pioneers participate in the first Santa Goodwill trip abroad.

1991

Telephone Pioneers of America Headquarters move from New York City to Denver, Colorado.  Pioneers also enters into a partnership with the National Park Service to make national and state parks more accessible to all — especially to senior citizens and park visitors with disabilities.

1993

The service requirement for membership is eliminated.  Membership in the Pioneers was initially limited to those with 21 years of industry service, a standard that stood for 53 years and fellowship was the order of the day.

1994

Pioners announce plans to “Focus on Education” in the United States and Canada.  The Pioneers Foundation is created.

1995

Pioneers begins a project partnership with Junior Achievement and signs a Memorandum of Cooperation with Industry Canada on the award-winning Computers for Schools program.  Pioneers also becomes one of the first organizations to sign a working partnership agreement with the Department of Education.

2007

Pioneers launches Power Up To Read (PUTR), an engaging free multimedia reading program designed to help children improve their reading comprehension skills.

2008

Telecom Pioneers formally shortens its name to Pioneers and adopts a brand new brand to reflect how Pioneers volunteers spark change in their local communities.

2009

Pioneers volunteer 15 million hours of service moving those in need from adversity to achievement.  With 620,000 AT&T Pioneers, Verizon Pioneers, FairPoint Pioneers, Telcordia Pioneers, Qwest Pioneers, Canadian Pioneers, Bell Aliant Pioneers, SaskTel Pioneers, Frontier Pioneers, and self-sponsored New Outlook Pioneers representing 82 chapters, Pioneers remains the largest industry-related volunteer organization.

2010

Pioneers is recognized for its 50 year commitment to the Talking Books Repairs Program by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

2011

Pioneers celebrates its Centennial year by sparking change through volunteer projects throughout its anniversary year culminating with a special celebration in its founding city of Boston!

2016

CenturyLink Pioneers change their name to Legacy West Pioneers.