Washington, D.C. (April 18, 2016) – The AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation teamed up with North America’s Building Trades Unions to host a very special fundraiser for Helmets to Hardhats, a national nonprofit that supports veterans. The event brought together veterans with representatives of the building trades and labor communities in order to raise an estimated $50,000 for the group.
Helmets to Hardhats connects current and former military service members with the training and opportunities necessary in order to thrive in the construction industry. Among those honored at the event were three U.S. Army veterans who have been helped by the program.
“For far too long, the sacrifices of our men and women in the armed services have been ignored as soon as they hang up their uniforms. Helmets to Hardhats helps to correct this mistake by ensuring that our soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen have a stable career in the construction industry after their commitment to our nation has been fulfilled,” said Mike Stotz, president of the AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation.
Darrell Roberts, the Executive Director at the Center of Helmets to Hardhats expressed his gratitude, “None of the work we do happens without the support of the building trades and the contractors, we appreciate the support that you and the AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation have given to us.”
“A lot of us get out of the service and we get lost in ourselves with nothing else to do, and we often find ourselves in bad situations,” said Helmets to Hardhats participant and event honoree Brian Kennedy.
Mr. Kennedy is a former airborne infantryman who as a member of Ironworkers Local 580 worked as a general foreman on the Riverside development in Manhattan, a project funded by the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust. He thanked the program for helping him and his fellow veterans, saying “Thankfully programs like this put us in better hands to get great paying jobs. We greatly appreciate your continued support in keeping us alive, home and over there.”
Kevin Smith, another Helmets to Hardhats participant, addressed why he appreciated the program “This transition couldn’t be any easier, leaving the service and joining a well-paying job as a sheet metal worker. I simply can’t thank Helmets to Hardhats enough.”
The final speaker of the event moved the crowd with his story when he said, “Transitioning from the Army was one of the most unpleasant things that I ever had to do in my life.” That specific veteran, Akini Celestine, emigrated from Grenada at 19 years old and joined the U.S. Army before he was a citizen. He added, “Helmets to Hardhats connected me directly to Plumbers Local 1, which elevated a lot of the stress I was facing coming out of the army by finding employment.”
The AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation would also like to send a special thanks to Arnold & Kadjan, the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, PNC Bank, Buch Construction, the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, Union Lifestyle Benefits, Steptoe & Johnson, the Bank of Labor, Plumbers Local 1, IBEW Local 134, Marco Consulting, Segal Consulting, Marquette Consulting, and the many other organizations and individuals who made significant contributions to Helmets to Hardhats through the event.
For those who still wish to make a contribution, please contact the AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation. All contributions are tax deductible as provided by law. “Helmets to Hardhats” is administered by the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment and Veterans Employment (CMRAVE) and is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. Checks should be made payable to CMRAVE.