Letter of Appreciation to IUEC
June 12, 2018
December 22, 2017
Source: News 12 Westchester
ELMSFORD – Just days after a thief stole toys out of a box for needy children, it turns out the Grinch didn’t steal Christmas after all.
Hundreds of new and unwrapped toys were delivered at Westy’s Self Storage in Elmsford Thursday, thanks, in part, to one man who saw News 12’s story about a real-life Grinch stealing Toys for Tots boxes in Yonkers.
Brendan Loftus loaded his van with gifts from Queens Thursday morning after seeing that story about the thief that stole those gifts.
“These kids will have a Christmas,” said Loftus.
Loftus, along with members of Local 1 Union of Elevator Constructors, became real-life Santas overnight, donating the toys in one day.
The Department of Social Services in Westchester picked up the toys and will deliver them in time for Christmas.
Letter of Appreciation to IUEC
November 15, 2017
Letters of Appreciation to IUEC
November 8, 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
I want to share with you some of the appreciation letters that the IUEC receives. Please see the letters we just received below.
Frank J. Christensen
Dallas Union Members Complete 1st Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Adopt-A-Park Project Volunteers reconstruct dilapidated bridges to make them safe for park visitors
Nashville, TN- Union members and contractors in the Dallas area volunteered their skills on May 17 to reconstruct three dilapidated bridges at Cedar Hill State Park in Cedar Hill, TX and make them safe for park visitors as part of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) Boots on the Ground program. The project took approximately 12 hours to complete and included 72 volunteers representing the Dallas Building & Construction Trades Council and several union locals including UA 100, IUEC 21, IUPAT 53, IBEW 20, SMART 68 as well as students and employees of the North Texas Job Corp Center and union contractors such as Beard Integrated Systems.
Not only was the labor donated by union volunteers, but the $3,000 needed for lumber, screws, bolts and other building supplies was funded by the USA’s 2012 Dallas Area Conservation Dinner. USA’s conservation dinners were initiated last year to raise funds for its Boots on the Ground (BOTG) program, which brings together union members willing to volunteer their time and expertise to tackle conservation projects. As a part of BOTG, USA’s Adopt-A-Park program focuses those efforts specifically on America’s nearly 7,000 parks.
“Not only do state parks contribute to our physical and emotional health, they generate $20 billion in economic benefits to state and local communities. Yet they’re continually faced with budget cuts and looming closures and have a backlog of repair and restoration projects,” said USA Executive Director Fred Myers. “Through this new facet of Boots on the Ground called Adopt-A-Park, union members utilize their skills and specialized training to renew, rebuilt and restore America’s treasured state parks.”
Being so close to the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and its more than six million residents, Cedar Hill State Park is truly an integral part of the community for outreach, interpretation, education and economic impact. The park was the USA’s very first Adopt-A-Park project to be completed. While the park’s three bridges around Duck Pond were in different stages of disrepair and were beginning to separate and splinter after 20+ years of use, the volunteers evaluated and updated each based on its structural safety. As a result, park visitors of all ages will now be able to utilize the bridges without worrying about splinters or tripping over warped boards.
“We continually strive to maintain all facilities and services on minimal budgets. There are multiple projects, like trail bridge maintenance, that fall behind other higher priority maintenance issues and don’t receive funding,” said Assistant Park Superintendent, Joshua Choate. “The unions and USA provided the materials, a large number of highly skilled volunteers and high quality service. We could not be more thankful for their dedication to conservation and community service.”
“It’s important to be involved in projects such as this because they improve opportunities for everyone to enjoy our local outdoors. It gives us a place to get away from all the concrete, cars, and computers and to understand the outdoors and places we may have never gone,” said Jim Miille, coordinator for this volunteer project and a project manager at Beard Integrated Systems, a union contractor.
The Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) is a union-dedicated outdoor organization whose members hunt, fish, shoot and volunteer their skills for conservation. The USA is uniting the union community to expand and improve hunting and fishing access and wildlife habitat while passing on our national outdoor heritage. For more information, visit www.unionsportsmen.org or www.facebook.com/unionsportsmen
Local 5’s A Lift For A Vet Elevates the Quality of Life for Our American Heroes
This month we honor the heroes of our two nations through Veterans Day. We take this day to remember all that these brave men and women, and their families, sacrificed so that we may live in freedom. Our servicemen and women represent the very best of our two nations, exemplifying patriotism, selflessness and dedication. Not only do we honor those living among us, we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice, sacrificing their life for their love of country.
When you consider what our Armed Forces do and have done for us, it would seem impossible to ever repay them for their service. Local 5, Philadelphia, PA, however, is certainly trying.
We have all heard stories of what our service members have experienced on the battlefield, from World War I and II to present day in Iraq and Afghanistan, but what few people ever hear about are the daily struggles these same service members endure every day here at home as they try to live their life independently despite the wheelchair they are bound to from their war injuries or their aging bodies that can no longer the climb stairs in their own home.
You see, even when our injured soldiers return home or when our veterans begin to age, these men and women are still fighting battles each and every day. We just don’t hear about these kinds of battles and sadly there are few resources available to help these veterans with the services they so desperately need—and justly deserve—to live their life in dignity and independence.
This is what makes Local 5’s A Lift for Vet program not only remarkable, but in such high demand. When a young Marine leaves his family and his multilevel home for his tour of duty and returns missing a leg or paralyzed from war injuries the life he left is no longer the same life he can live. The home he once felt comfortable in is now a home he can no longer access. This is where A Lift For A Vet comes in.
The program was created by Local 5 member Mike Walsh who found his calling of helping veterans by rolling up his sleeves on projects for Homes For Our Troops. Homes For Our Troops builds and retrofits homes for injured service members. Mike found this volunteer work very rewarding as it gave him an opportunity to give back to our American heroes by using his skills as an elevator constructor. When Homes for Our Troops decided to build only one-story homes and stopped installing elevators in their projects, Mike knew he still wanted to use his elevator skills to help our troops, so with the support of Local 5, Mike created A Lift For A Vet to help retrofit existing homes to make them accessible for aging and injured veterans. That was five years ago.
Today, A Lift For A Vet is still installing stairlifts and elevators for veterans in need. What started as one to two projects a year has grown into many requests each month and as Local 5 Business Manager Ed Loomis is proud to point out, “the program has yet to turn any request down.”
Funding for the program comes primarily from the local’s golf outing, held every year on the first Saturday in May. The golf tournament has raised more and more money every year, last year raising $36,000. Every single dollar raised goes directly to A Lift For A Vet. Other funding has come from individuals who just send in contributions to the local union and people have even requested that donations be made to A Lift For A Vet in lieu of flowers to a funeral. Contributions have come in a variety of ways and certainly a variety of sizes but every dollar received makes a difference to the program and, most importantly, to those the program serves.
Although A Lift For A Vet started in Philadelphia, projects now take place all across the country thanks to help from IUEC local unions all around the U.S. A Lift For A Vet does no advertising; veterans, or more commonly their family members and friends, typically learn about the program by surfing the Internet for veterans’ assistance programs. When a call comes in for help outside of Local 5’s jurisdiction, Brother Loomis puts out a call for help to his fellow business managers, seeking IUEC volunteers to install a stairlift or elevator. Needless to say, Brother Loomis has never been turned down. Local 5 takes care of securing the equipment needed—stairlift or elevator. Most often, the equipment is new, purchased with the help of Federal Elevator, a Local 5 signatory company and the company for which Brother Mike Walsh works. Owner Rich Bilancia has been instrumental in helping A Lift For A Vet purchase the equipment needed and ensure that it is shipped to the install location. On occasion, the program will refurbish older stairlift units that have been donated but most of the time the equipment installed is brand new.
A typical residential elevator costs between $14,000- $17,000 and a stairlift costs about $2100. Whenever possible, A Lift For A Vet will try to install a stairlift instead of an elevator in order to conserve financial resources so they may serve even more people. However, when an elevator is the right piece of equipment to install, that is exactly what A Lift For A Vet does.
A Lift For A Vet has literally helped veterans of all ages from coast to coast. This summer Brother Walsh went to Boston to install a stairlift for a highly decorated 92-year-old World War II veteran, Walter Gilbert, who served in Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge but could no long move between the two levels of his home. During his service, Walter received two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star with an oak leaf cluster which denotes that he was wounded twice, and a Silver Star, and is only one of a few Americans to ever receive the French Legion of Honor Medal from the President of France in 2012. Walter found A Lift For A Vet through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Last year, A Lift For A Vet partnered with Local 18 to install an elevator in the home of a young Special Ops Marine who was shot down, and subsequently paralyzed, in Afghanistan. Captain Derek Herrera received the Bronze Star for valor and today works with the business and medical communities to develop medical devices to improve the quality of life for paralysis patients. The elevator in his home has allowed him to move freely between floors and live the independent and full life he has made his personal mission.
The program has even installed lifts in non-residential structures, so long as those lifts serve veterans. A Lift For A Vet installed a wheelchair lift in a boathouse in Philadelphia that services the Wounded Warriors Special Olympic Crew Team. That install was completed entirely by retirees, who oftentimes are an important part of the volunteer manpower.
A Lift for A Vet has also completed projects in Virginia, Kentucky, Texas and Florida to name only a few. However, Brother Loomis is quick to point out that the success of the program, particularly as it has spread beyond Local 5’s jurisdiction, is due in large part to the cooperation and generosity he has received from other IUEC local unions around the country.
As for the future of A Lift For A Vet, well, the program has no plans of slowing down. In fact, Brother Loomis would love to see the program be adopted by the entire IUEC. “I would like to see it be a program of the International. We are the only ones who can do this work,” he says. “These guys are national heroes. They shouldn’t have to leave their house to live in freedom.”
As we salute our men and women of the Armed Forces this month, we also salute all of our IUEC troops, especially those in Local 5, who are giving back, with their heart and their hands, to those who have given so much.
Local 5: Lift for a Vet
October 13, 2014
Good Afternoon Brothers & Sisters,
I just wanted to share the latest project, just completed by A Lift For A Vet. Local 5 can not thank the Brothers and Sisters out in Local 18 enough. A special thanks to Tony Gazzaniga, Frank Belio and the members who donated their time and effort on this project. This is what makes the IUEC great. Take care brothers & sisters and work safe.
IUEC Local 5 Philadelphia, PA
IUEC In The Community – Local 124 Afghanistan Veteran
Words of Gratitude from Local 130, Calgary
In recent months, we have all witnessed or have been affected by the devastating fury of Mother Nature. In October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern seaboard extensively and those affected are still dealing with the aftermath. Soon after in May 2013, Oklahoma was not spared the ravages of tornadoes achieving, in some cases, category-five levels. In June of this year, levels of flooding not seen if decades hit Calgary. Through all of these natural disasters, one thing remained constant—the resolve and solidarity of all IUEC members coming together and without second thought, rising to the occasion to aid those members hardest hit.
The rebuilding and restoring of lives and homes would not be possible without the support of IUEC members. Whether it was sweat equity or contributions from individual members and locals from all over North America, these acts even extended to neighbors and friends. The compassion and determination that resides in the members of the IUEC can’t be measured but most certainly can be felt. This is not to say that employers did not do their part; they too were there for our brothers and sisters.
The pictures show the story, from the damage to the re-building. So with this in mind we should all be proud to belong to an organization that truly supports our members and society at large. There isn’t much more that can be said, but from the hearts of the members of Local 130, we are in your debt and no matter what we all face, we will face it together.
THANK YOU, from the members of Local 130.
Re: 2013 National AFL-CIO United Way Endorsement
August 1, 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Since 1947, the AFL-CIO has taken great pride in its partnership with the United Way. The labor movement and the United Way have a long tradition of working together to help workers, families and communities in need.
In communities around the country, United Way funding makes it possible to provide services people need to get back on their feet. There are over 200 Community Services liaisons supported by the United Way who serve working families in communities across the country.
Together we can help those in real need now while we work to rebuild our economy. Please join me in supporting the 2013 United Way Campaign by doing so you are helping create opportunities for a better life for all.
Thank you and with best wishes, I remain
Larry J. McGann
Local 14 Buffalo News Kid’s Day
Local 14 members Kevin Stack and Badri Jurdi selling Kid’s Day newspapers
Thank you to all of those members who helped out with Buffalo News Kid’s Day newspaper sale. We were able to raise almost $300 for Children’s Hospital.
Local 21 USA’s Boots on the ground Adopt-A-Park Program
Local 21 Bridge Crew (left to right); Andy Lipsey, Willie Conner, Chris Evans, Dan Lich, Bob Sattler, Wayne Misialek, Wayne Mason, Randy Mason, Scott Church and Clarence Baker. not pictured: Kenneth Jackson.
Thanks to all of the members who volunteered for the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Boots on the Ground Adopt-A-Park Program. Eleven Local 21 members, along with members of various other building trades, tackled a project at Cedar Hill State Park. Three bridges on a hiking trail were in bad need of repair. Local 21 members were assigned to the first bridge on the trail, and with teamwork and craftsmanship, the job was completed by 2:30 PM. All who volunteered said that they enjoyed themselves and would be willing to volunteer again.
Local 10 is Proud to Show their Christmas Spirit in April
When former Local 10 Business Manager Jim Lowery attended a community event in St. Mary’s County in Maryland back in 2002, he figured he would go and show his support, be social with some of the other attendees. What he didn’t realize was that he would never actually leave that event behind because one of the people he met there made him rethink the local’s approach to community service.
Brother Lowery met the director of the Christmas in April program at that event and the two quickly realized that each of their organizations had so much to give back to the other. The Christmas in April program is a local chapter of Rebuilding Together, a national charity that helps homeowners in need rebuild their homes so they may live in comfort, safety and dignity. And, after connecting that day, Local 10 members working with Christmas in April, have given of their time and talents for the past 11 years to some of the most needy, sometimes forgotten, residents in their community.
Christmas in April, through community agencies and/or referrals from family or friends, identifies the homes they will service each year. Dozens of homes are selected annually, with repairs ranging from minor to extensive. “If not for caring neighbors, friends and family, Christmas in April would never know about the needs of some of the most vulnerable in our community,” says Brother Lowery.
However, regardless of the amount of work to be done, it is a one-day event, so volunteers often work from sun up to sun down getting the job done. So far, Local 10 members have put their skills to work on 18 homes in Maryland over the years.
Sometimes the work is concentrated just in landscaping and outside painting, which are certainly labor intensive but manageable in one day with just a few volunteers. Other times, however, repair work includes landscaping, painting and replacing roofs, renovating bathrooms, installing handicap ramps and gutting an entire kitchen. This is when the one-day event becomes a coordinated effort between upwards of 50 volunteers or more per house.
Brother Mike Herrity and his wife Rose have served as the coordinators of the Christmas in April event for Local 10 ever since they participated with the local’s very first house back in 2003. They spend a lot of time promoting the event to the local and securing Local 10 volunteers each year. They show up to the union meetings with a sign up sheet in hand and even recruit family and friends to man the projects. Because of the number of Local 10 volunteers who have shown up over the years, the local has come to be seen as a leader on these projects. Rose notes that whenever someone on a project needs something, even if it’s finding an electrician, carpenter or painter, Local 10 always seems to field the call for help and come through. “Local 10 is so well known on these projects that people know Local 10 members will be able to get anything done—even getting people from other trades to come help,” she says.
This year, Local 10 worked on eight homes in the Washington, DC, area. One house in particular was especially devastating and the homeowner especially remarkable. The homeowner was an 88-year-old World War II veteran who was literally living in squalor. He had lost his wife a few years ago and his two grown sons suffer from severe mental illness. In his efforts to care for everyone around him over the years, he was unable to care for his home which included softball-sized holes in the outside walls, a bathroom completely covered in black mold, a broken refrigerator, a hot water heater that had been leaking so long that his floor boards had holes in them and deck stairs that slanted so much it was a hazard for anyone to walk on them, much less someone using a walker.
Brothers Sonny Yeager, Local 10 member and NEIEP area coordinator; Dave Geib, new Local 10 business manager; and Greg Zabrucky, were among the volunteers who worked on this particular home. They worked alongside professional and volunteer firefighters who also signed up to volunteer with Christmas in April. The scope of the work needed on this home—just to make it liveable—was bigger than one day’s work so in this case some of the volunteers have made repeat visits to do more work, on their own time. So far, the work on this home has included landscaping; deck work; new cabinets, counter tops and floors; the installation of a new hot water heater; donation of a new refrigerator and stove; and the installation of a new roof.
Although each house poses a different challenge and each volunteer comes to the projects with different skills to offer, everyone agrees on why they sign up year after year. Brother Lowery says, “The look on the homeowners’ faces says it all. Most of these people would never have asked for the help on their own.” Rose Herrity agrees, saying, “It’s the greatest satisfaction you’ll ever receive to see the look on the homeowner’s face when they are sitting in their own home amazed, relaxed and at peace.”
Everyone involved in the program notes that you don’t have to have a specific skill to offer in order to volunteer, just a willingness to help others. “The skill I have to give is my heart,” remarks Brother Zabrucky. “Think how fortunate we are to work in our industry and make the money we do. It’s a far better life than these people are living.”
IUEC Local 2 Receives Award in Honor of their Tireless Efforts on Behalf of Dollars Against Diabetes
IUEC General President Frank Christensen, former BCTD President Ed Sullivan, and the officers of Local 2 gather together after receiving the award from the BCTD.
The IUEC is extremely proud of our own Local 2, Chicago, IL, for receiving special recognition from the Building and Construction Trades Department. President Sean McGarvey presented the officers and delegates of Local 2 with an award in honor of their tireless commitment to Dollars Against Diabetes (DAD’s Day), the BCTD’s program to support the Diabetes Research Institute. President McGarvey proudly stated that Local 2 has raised over $60,000 for DAD’s Day in the last two years via the Local 2 Charity Golf Tournament.
Not only does this effort go a long way towards supporting the Diabetes Research Institute, it is also a shining example of labor’s willingness to roll up its sleeves and get involved for the greater good. Thank you, Local 2, for your selflessness and your fine example of all that is good in organized labor!