USW Cares: 2019 Jefferson Award Winners Announced

Stacey Goodman, a USW member from District 1 who lost her daughter to drug addiction last year, is the 2019 champion of the USW Cares Jefferson Awards for her efforts to help others.

For her relevant work in taking on the opioid epidemic after her daughter, Jordan Bladel, became a victim of it, Stacey is the 2019 USW Champion Volunteer.

“She was my fighter,” Goodman said of her daughter, who was 24 and a mother of two young children when she died. “She would fight for anybody that she loved, and I am going to continue to fight for her and everybody else.”

Since 2015, the USW has partnered with the Jefferson Awards Foundation, recently renamed Multiplying Good, to celebrate Steelworkers who do amazing works of community service, and to show the world that Steelworkers have big hearts.

The USW is proud to have generous and compassionate members who foster a culture of giving back in our union. Don’t forget to nominate members who are active in their communities for the USW Jefferson Awards and encourage your brothers and sisters to do the same!

Goodman was chosen as this year’s USW champion from a select group of volunteer winners from every district, SOAR and the USW staff. The champion award went to the volunteer with the highest overall score.

The winners follow:

District 1 – Stacey Goodman, Local 700T:  Goodman lost her daughter in 2018 to opioid addiction and decided to help other families with addicted loved ones. She got involved with FACT, Families and Addicts Coming Together.

Through FACT, Stacey conducts mock overdose trainings and raises money for addiction services. She works with her local union and district to encourage employers to treat addiction as a health and safety issue at work.

District 2 – Donna Dams, Local 2-21: Through involvement in her local’s Women of Steel committee, Donna has volunteered more than 100 hours, helped raise thousands of dollars and collected hundreds of donations for a variety of community service efforts. They include a back-to-school back pack drive and a pancake breakfast for fellow workers who were ill or going through cancer treatment. Donna also made over 100 blankets by hand and collected pajamas to donate to local nursing homes and a veterans hospital.

District 3 – Brian Arnold, retired from Local 7619: Over the nearly 30 years he worked in a mine and over the course of his lifetime, even after he retired, Brian has devoted his life on a daily basis to the sincerest service and care of everyone around him. He visits hospitals to check on friends and co-workers, he volunteers as a pastor to those who are sick or otherwise afflicted, and he has participated in countless community events and fundraisers for worthy causes.

District 4 – Buffalo Black Labor Week Committee: Started in District 7 by 2017 Jefferson Awards winner Ephrin Jenkins, Black Labor Week is a program dedicated to educating, empowering, and uplifting Buffalo, N.Y.

The Buffalo Black Labor Week committee plan and execute the annual program. USW members taught labor history and social justice courses in schools, cooked breakfast for and provided toiletries to veterans, hosted panel discussions, and led community service projects, including a Habitat for Humanity project and free haircuts.

District 5 – Gilles Bordeleau, retired from Local 6887: Although retired, Gilles is still active in his local as a member of its Retirement Committee. He meets with workers and their families to explain the defined benefit pension plan and other benefits.

Bordeleau is founder of the breakfast program “Petits déjeuners CCR” for the children of St-Octave school of Montréal-East. He organizes the collection of Christmas baskets for distribution to the most disadvantaged people of the Montréal-East and Pointe-aux-Trembles area, and he created a soccer league for people with trisomy, a genetic disorder,

District 6 – Alex Patterson, Local 6500: Alex is on the Health Sciences North Foundation Board in Sudbury, Ontario. He dedicates much of his spare time and energy to the board, which funds a variety of projects for the hospital ranging from raising money for equipment to donating to other causes that help better serve hospital patients. Most recently, the board has been raising funds to purchase two badly needed MRI machines for the hospital.

District 7 – Jerry Coppinger, Local 6103: Jerry and his wife have adopted five children out of foster care. In an effort to thank the organization that helped them build their wonderful family, they fund a “party” for the community that raises donations that pay for Christmas gifts to children in foster care. The party became known as the Forever Family Festival.

District 8 – Dave Riffle, Local 477: Dave supports the youth of Upshur County as a middle school archery coach, 4-H camp leader, and fundraiser for the Buckhannon Upshur High School band.

Although he has a wife and three children and works overtime often, he finds the time to be a strong youth leader in his community, even if that means using more than two weeks of his vacation time to do it.

District 9 – Bill Powers, Local 90: As chair for USW Local 90, Bill has led his local to participate in projects that better their community. He has helped raise more than $300,000 in member donations for United Way of Greater Knoxville over the past several years. He took the lead on two Habitat for Humanity homes, and has personally donated more than $10,000 to the United Way of Greater Knoxville. He is also a longtime volunteer at the Cerebral Palsy Center.

District 10 – Justin Calderone, Local 2227: On top of working full time, helping the union grievance committee and spending time with his wife and daughter, Justin runs the Calderone Caring Foundation, which he started in memory of his two-year-old son who died from ongoing health issues from birth.

The Calderone Caring Foundation aims to help families with children who encounter health problems by offering paid hospital parking, food vouchers, gift bags, and date nights for parents who are staying at the hospital. The foundation also assists families with medical supplies that are not covered by insurance.

District 11 – Local Union 444 Women of Steel Committee: Because of their hard work over the last few years, the Women of Steel in Local 444 are recognized in their community for helping disadvantaged children, veterans, and people in need.

Here are a few of the many projects Local 444 WOS either assist with or organize themselves: an Easter egg hunt for children with special needs, an annual bake sale and raffle to purchase adult bikes for a local sober-living house, a backpack drive for foster kids and veterans, an  annual “Angel Giving Tree,” a collection for their union sister who was seriously injured on the job, a fundraiser for Quilting for Warriors, and a huge food drive that donated 5,549 items and $1,200 to five area pantries.

District 12 – Xochitl Cobarruvias, Local 675: Xochitl has created strong ties to the communities of Carson and South Los Angeles, Calif., through her tireless efforts bringing money, food, school supplies, and legal help to struggling people.

She started a monthly food bank at her local’s Maywood office, which has distributed more than 10,000 bags of groceries to people in need. Because of her, 2,000 families were able to have a Thanksgiving meal and 500 children received backpacks with school supplies last year.

She raised over $7,500 for families involved in the area sports program to buy uniforms and cover fees, and she is a great help to Local 675’s annual children’s Christmas party, which provides gifts to underprivileged kids.

District 13 – Locals 1226 and 13-725 Women of Steel Committees: The two committees collaborated to plan and execute fundraising projects to benefit two different groups of community members, the Great Adventure Camping Trip Group (GACT) and the Rosepine Nursing Facility.

The WOS sisters raised $1,100 for GACT, which provides a no-cost weekend camping trip to single parents and their kids, and convinced their employer to match that contribution. Members from both locals help with activities for campers and talk to young adults about millwork and unionism. For the Christmas holiday, they collected personal items for a nursing home and volunteered at a party where they distributed gifts and spent time with residents.

SOAR – Eleanor Gattafoni-Robinson, District 3: Eleanor organizes the annual Terry Fox Run, fundraises for Relay for Life, is heavily involved with her church’s service and philanthropy, volunteers for Silver City Days, cooks and serves food for junior hockey teams and fans at Cominco Arena, provides service and support to struggling community members at Trail Association for Community Living, is serving her fourth consecutive term as a city councilor, and does so much more. She is truly devoted to building her community. Friends say her impact is priceless.

USW Staff – Karen Shipley, District 8: Karen raised tens of thousands of dollars for West Virginia flood relief and $5,000 for 4-H. She volunteers at soup kitchens, donates to women’s shelters, and delivers “blessing bags” to the homeless and backpacks to children. She is active in her church and is always doing something to help people in need.

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