Before meeting my husband, Ken Kroeger, in December of 1986, I knew very little about the railroad. Ken and I were married in March of 1989, ending my 10-year stint as a single mother of two children. At that time, Ken was a seasoned engineer with Southern Pacific (now Union Pacific) Railroad and an active union member of Division 28 in Tucson, Arizona. Ken’s involvement with the union deepened when he was “formally dismissed” following a major derailment in which he was involved in 1990. He helped his local chairman put together a case for his defense, and, although he lost the case at the local level, he won on appeal and was reinstated later that year. Following that incident, he served as a vice local chairman, then in 1995, was elected as the Local Chairman for Div. 28. In late 1997, when Ken suddenly found himself serving as chairperson for the 1998 International Western Convention to be hosted in Tucson, he asked me to form a local auxiliary as he wanted me to serve as the auxiliary chairperson for that event. On March 21, 1998, Guadalupe Auxiliary No. 28 was chartered in Tucson, Arizona, and I was sworn in as Secretary, a position I still hold today.
In 1999, Ken went to work full time for the BLET National and served in the position of Special Representative for the National Division and Coordinator of Education and Training until his retirement in July 2014. Together, we are now involved in some training programs for other building trade unions to teach their apprenticeship trainers innovative techniques to improve their teaching skills. We are also active grandparents to our four grandchildren, who all live far away from us. We do, however, travel to see them as much as possible, or plan family gatherings where we can all be together.
In the fall of 2000, I was asked by then-President of the Grand International Auxiliary (GIA), Ruth Wyndham, to publish the Auxiliary’s quarterly newsletter. I was also asked by Ruth to attend the International Convention in Miami in 2001, as an alternate delegate for a couple of auxiliaries that were unable to send a representative. I also provided the minutes for the Journal of Proceedings at that convention. Much to my surprise, I was nominated and elected to the position of 3rd Vice President for the GIA. At the next convention, in Las Vegas, in the summer of 2006, when the GIA changed its name to the BLET Auxiliary, I was elected as 2nd Vice President/Assistant National Legislative Representative. During that term, I was elevated into the position of 1st Vice President/National Legislative Representative in June of 2007 due to the resignation of the 1st Vice President. And, in 2008, I was elevated into the position of Vice President due to another resignation. In addition to my duties as National Legislative Rep., I continued to publish our quarterly newsletter, the BLET Auxiliary News, and also became the editor of that publication.
At the First Quadrennial Convention in October 2010, the auxiliary bylaws were changed to include the position of National Legislative Representative with the National Vice President. I was elected to the position of National Vice President/National Legislative Representative on October 6, 2010.
At the 2nd Quadrennial Convention in October 2014, I was elected as National President of the BLET Auxiliary. I am honored to serve in this capacity for the Auxiliary and I hope that my service will prove a fitting testament to the legacy of those who stepped forward to pave this path before me. I look forward to working with a dynamic team of talented and enthusiastic national officers who I feel have the potential to take us to new heights in the years ahead.Sereena Hogan
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