2021 USW Cares District 8 Jefferson Award winner Erion Dalton

Erion Dalton has been a member of Local Union 1499 for the last eight years since she was hired at the UTC Aerospace Plant in Union, West Virginia. Having always been a ‘helper’, Erion immediately got involved with her local’s Women of Steel Committee after a coworker informed her that union encourages volunteer work and community service.

For fundraising, collecting donations, and volunteering time to help feed, clothe, and support children in need and the elderly, Erion Dalton is District 8’s 2021 USW Cares Jefferson Award winner.

 “I love helping people, I love doing stuff for people. It’s one of my favorite things in the world. I did not realize, being in the union, that there was a Women of Steel and they were big on community outreach. When I found that out, I knew I absolutely needed to be a part of this,” said Dalton.

Dalton had been Chair of the WOS committee for the last two years, until she recently decided to take a step back after becoming pregnant with her second child.

“Absolutely, I still volunteer. I can’t get away from it,” joked Dalton when asked if she still works with the committee after stepping down as Chair.

Dalton started her WOS activism with small efforts like “Trunk-or-Treat,” where she and the Women of Steel of Local 1499 would raise money for candy, get the local involved and host trick-or-treating out of car trunks for school children.

While she chaired the Committee, Dalton worked heavily with the Monroe County Coalition for Women and Children for multiple projects to get food, clothing, and supplies to women and children in need after inquiring with Michelle McFall, Director of the Coalition about how to help the community.

Dalton knew McFall as the person you talk to in her community if you want to help people or know of someone in need. “She’s a wonderful lady. I like letting her boss me around. I say ‘what do you need?’ and she tells me, and I go out and do it.”

After asking McFall what her organization needed to support their women and children over the Holidays, Dalton brought the Coalition’s Angel Tree project to her local union members, requesting donations and sponsorships of “angels.”

“The outpouring from our union was just great. A lot of our people are addicted to their overtime, but they have big hearts and they want to help. They have no problem saying, ‘here’s the money, can you please get it to where it needs to go,’” said Dalton.

McFall will buy anything left that the kids need with the monetary donations that Dalton collects. Then McFall informed Dalton about Monroe County Food Pantry’s holiday meal drive, so Dalton did the same thing as with the “Angel Tree”: she collected monetary and food staple donations from her union brothers and sisters. Last year, they turned the donation collection in a competition between the Local 1499 union workers and the non-union office workers.

“We ended up raising so much money last Christmas that no only did we get the dry goods, your non-perishables, but for the Union Community Food Pantry, we were able to buy 20 turkeys and 10 hams to put in the freezer that we purchased for them.” Dalton made it possible for the pantry to buy a new fridge after hearing that they couldn’t keep any fresh food without a freezer; she went to her coworkers and garnered donations for this specific need.

Dalton also organized volunteers to hand out lunches at the school for children who receive free lunch but were out of school because of the Pandemic, led a canned food drive for the elderly in her community, and collected coats for children at another shelter for kids. All the while, during the Pandemic, she was often collecting donations to support local union members who were out sick or required to quarantine and losing income.

She also fundraises with bake sales and raffles for specific needs as they come up. She’ll collect for a member if they’re out from work because of a car wreck or sick spouse.

“We try to take care of membership, we try to take care of our brothers and sisters,” said Dalton. “We rise by lifting others. We have to take care of eachother.”

“We are proud to have Erion as a coworker. She is very civic-minded and has a very beautiful soul,” said Dalton’s nominator, Peggy Bryant.

Because of her tireless service to her community, done by involving her very generous union brothers and sisters and spearheading efforts to give back, Erion Dalton is the 2021 USW Cares Jefferson Award winner for District 8.

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