As vulnerable populations struggle with the economic and health effects of COVID-19, IUPAT District Council 21’s three local unions donated $1,552 to the John Rivers Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 11322 in Quakertown to help local veterans through these tough times.
IUPAT District Council 21 business representative Ed Paley, a Marine veteran, got the idea when he heard that the VFW could no longer sell its usual fabric poppies to raise money for the organization. A common sight in Quakertown, the veterans could no longer table at local stores to raise funds due to the pandemic’s health and safety risks.
“District Council 21 is always giving back to the community, and this time it was personal to me and my family,” explained Paley. “My father is a member of this VFW, and he instilled a dedication to service in me. COVID-19 has changed so much of how our union works, and it’s changed how community organizations have had to fundraise and function, too. Our union knew we had to do something to give back to those who have served.”
“COVID-19 has been particularly hard on veterans, and our VFW has struggled to adapt our fundraising tactics to keep our services to members afloat,” explained Commander Paul Gerhart, Jr. of the John Rivers VFW. “Many veterans in our community have gotten sick, lost jobs, or have pre-existing conditions that make them vulnerable to this virus, and our VFW has had to adapt to these new challenges. We’re extremely grateful that District Council 21 saw our needs and stepped in with this generous donation to allow us to keep serving our members.”
District Council 21 has a long history of community outreach and service for veterans. The union has donated skills and time to aid other veteran centers, nonprofits and small businesses. The IUPAT’s Veterans Program creates a pathway for veterans to enter the finishing trades after their service.