Next Generation Completes Flood Relief Effort: “Operation Helping Hands”

Local Union 1219 Next Generation Chairman Mark Simko and John Beidler from Local Union 10-00086 collected donations from fellow union brothers and sisters, community groups, friends and family during the month of September to benefit victims of the devastating floods that hit Louisiana in August.

On Sunday, September 25, Mark and John set off on a 2,100 mile journey to Baton Rouge, La., hitting donation collection points along the way – Local Union 1219 (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Local Union 1660 (Farell, Pa.), Local Union 10-00086 (Philadelphia Pa.), Local Union 1155L (Morrison, Tn.) and Local Union 9-537 (Tuscaloosa, Al.).

Earl Butterfield, Van Tenpenny, Joe Roberts, and Jebbie Brooks acted as point people for their locals’ collections, helping Mark and John pack a 26-foot box truck full of clothing, hygiene products, cleaning products, towels, pet supplies, mosquito repellent, diapers and more.

Mark and John’s first stop once in Louisiana was the Livingston Parish Animal Shelter, where they unloaded a donation of pet supplies and food from Paws Across Pittsburgh, a non-profit animal rescue in the area.

From there, they traveled to Local Union 750 in Baton Rouge where Marty Poche took over distributing the supplies to victims, including a few thousand USW members, and aid organizations. Some of the supplies were given directly to women’s shelters in the area.

“I want to send my thanks to Fred Redmond, Connie Mabin, Director Bobby Mac, Director Ruben Garza, and every single person we met; the locals along the way showed us incredible hospitality,” said Mark Simko when he returned home from Louisiana.

The USW provided Mark and John with the resources to transport the donations to Louisiana. Donations and supplies were also provided by Athletic Trauma Unit, a fitness organization in Braddock, PA that often teams up with Local Union 1219 Next Generation for community fundraisers.

Check out the Flickr album by clicking the picture below!

USW Next Gen:  Operation Helping Hands

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