Remembering Roger Lane
After the tragic and preventable death of his daughter Jodie, who was electrocuted trying to pull her two dogs off a service box, Roger sued Con Edison and won, which turned his life into a crusade to make the public aware of, and be safe from the dangers of public utilities through the Jodie S. Lane Public Safety Foundation.
Stephen Flahive, IBEW Electrician — March 27, 2011
I work as an IBEW electrician in the NYC DOT Traffic Signal Shop. I was transferred to this job in February 2004, one month after Jodie Lane's death. I was very concerned that I and others would be working on poles that were potentially lethal. I have closely followed the progress of stray voltage detection and mitigation by ConEd, Power Survey, DOT, and the NYS PSC over the past seven years. This is largely due to the efforts of Roger Lane, who turned a terrible personal tragedy into an opportunity to improve the safety of pedestrians, pets, and electrical workers, not only in NYC, but around the world.
His efforts are commendable and have improved the safety of thousands of ConEd workers and IBEW electricians who work on streetlights and traffic signals in NYC.
Peter Vallone, New York City Council — February 9, 2011
Roger Lane worked tirelessly to make sure his daughter's death was not in vain. He was a huge help when drafting and passing "Jodie Lane's Law", which mandated city inspections of manhole covers and grates, and in conducting oversight of Con Ed's ongoing efforts to mitigate stray voltage. He will be sorely missed.
Con Edison — February 4, 2011
Con Edison sends its deepest condolences to the family of Roger Lane. Roger took a family tragedy and courageously turned it into a campaign to make urban streets safer. All of us at Con Edison valued his engineering expertise, his input and his passion for public safety. – firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Spain — February 3, 2011
Roger Lane was indeed, an inspiration to all with his courage, fortitude and perseverance. Perhaps not one person in a thousand would have the insight to turn a personally tragic situation into a positive, life saving movement assisting both humans and animals.
When Roger's daughter, Jodie, a graduate student at Columbia University, was tragically electrocuted in 2004 due to stray voltage, Roger could have so easily become reclusive and avoided all mentioned of this, life-shattering event.
Certainly, millions would have simply wanted to be left alone afterward. Roger, instead, decided to turn Jodie's memory into a positive movement, and, thus, was instrumental in establishing the Jodie S. Lane Public Safety Foundation, which has served to alert millions both to the hazards of contact voltage and the necessary precautions to avoid it.
Roger knew that it was better to "Light one candle" than to "curse the darkness" and his message was positively received by all. When I had the honor of having lunch with Roger back in 2008, his cheerful demeanor couldn't help but impress all who met him and bring the silver lining out of every cloud. No matter how one was feeling beforehand, Roger's sunny disposition inspiration everyone to see life's bright side.
Roger Lane was certainly an inspiration to all!
Blair Sorrel, Founder of StreetZaps.com — January 30, 2011
I watched incredulously as this grief-stricken father chatted, joked, and even hugged with genuine conviviality and camarderie, some utility workers during The Jodie Lane Fourth National Conference Cocktail Hour.
He shrugged and responded, "I don't know how I live with it. I just like to think that she is looking down on me in heaven and that this is what she would want." I didn't realize this would be our last conversation in person (May 29, 2008) as I learned the terrible news of Roger's recent passing. Perhaps for some there is closure in knowing they are finally reunited and that this bereft man is mercifully assuaged of the nightmare grief he endured for nearly seven years.
But I personally feel cheated -- robbed of many more years of his formidable intellect, his inspiring dignity in coping with a horrific burden few mere mortals could ever muster, and in truth, no living soul should. In "Things Fall Apart" Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe wrote that the true tragedy is not loss itself, but the inability to rebuild and then revel in the rebuilder, "as a man danced so the drums were beaten for him."
This remarkable mourner surmounted all too human emotion and summoned preternatural strength in creating a Foundation to spearhead accountability for his family's trauma and mitigation efforts on behalf of other victims and the potentially vulnerable.
I believe that Roger would want his personal mission and family crisis to be remembered through donations and support of the Jodie S. Lane Public Safety Foundation.
Gunnar Hellekson — January 17, 2011
Thank you, Roger Lane, for everything you did in Jodie's memory.
Yesterday marked the seventh anniversary of Jodie Lane's death. She was a 30-year-old doctoral candidate at the Teacher’s College at Columbia University. During the late afternoon of Jan. 16, 2004, Lane, who lived on East 11th Street with her boyfriend, was walking her dogs. She was electrocuted on a snow-covered Con Edison junction box on the southwest corner of 11th Street at First Avenue.
The street was named in her honor in the spring of 2005.
I'm bringing all this up because I just heard that her father, Roger M. Lane, passed away in Texas on Dec. 31. He was 63. Many people were moved by his crusade for justice in his daughter's death.
In November 2004, ConEd agreed to pay Lane's family more than $6.2 million and to set up a $1 million scholarship fund in her name at Columbia.
Wrote Gothamist at the time: "We're also very impressed with the efforts of the Lane family, especially Roger Lane, Jodie's father, to push Con Ed to improve its procedures, and we thank the family for caring enough to make sure other New Yorkers are safe."
Gunnar Hellekson, spearheaded the reform of safety regulations for New York State’s electrical utilities following Lane's death.
Read Gunnar's full post Remembering Roger Lane at OnePeople.