A Tribute to Ben Schaeffer, Conductor and Division Vice Chair, 58.

I’m devastated by the loss of Ben Schaeffer. Every loss this year has been tough, but this one hits a certain way. I was in regular contact with his dad, Alan (yes, both of Ben’s parents are still alive). Alan Schaeffer informed me of the need for a plasma donation, so I set out to publicize his call for help. The response was overwhelming, so much love — and so many donors.

Unfortunately, by the time Ben received the treatment, he had already been on a ventilator for some time. Recent stats from NYC hospitals have shown an extremely high mortality rate for COVID-19 patients on vents. It was a long shot, but still, he had a shot. Ben’s family was so grateful for the outpouring of support for their son. Everybody was pulling for them. It broke my heart when I got that call from Mr. Schaeffer yesterday. I called it an “early night” after that.

"It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone."

As a Conductor for 22+ years, a shop steward, an elected TWU officer, and a community activist, Ben’s life was a light to so many. All of our fallen members were a light in the darkness. We mourn them all, and vow to keep their spirits with us, and their memories alive. R. I. P. Ben Schaeffer.

Local 100 President Tony Utano said: "It is especially heartbreaking when a man who has given so much to the Union as an officer passes. Brother Schaeffer truly lived our founder Mike Quill's words, when he said, "you must invest part of yourself" in the Union. Ben made that investment in TWU Local 100 and this will always be remembered."