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 Employees Make the Holidays Bright for Many

DATE: Will be calculated from "Release Start Date" field.

The following are articles from many of our U.S. manufacturing locations that tell the story of a giving workforce.   Not only do our employees give of their money, but they give of their time and resources to ensure those less fortunate have a happy holiday. 


SHARONVILLE TRANSMISSION PLANT
UAW Local 863 Gives More Than 300 Kids a Christmas
For more than 20 years members of UAW Local 863 have been giving the gift of Christmas to area children through Adopt-a-Child, a program that matches impoverished families with individual or group sponsors during the Christmas season.
 
Volunteers began their efforts in early October, by canvassing local communities in search of individuals in need.
 
“We help families who are in financial distress,” said Rick Lawwill, president, UAW Local 863. “We provide gifts to children whose families cannot purchase presents of their own.”

This year, employees adopted more than 300 children from 106 families located throughout Brown, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties. And while they’ve always shown dedication to this program, this year’s efforts have topped the charts.
 
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Lawwill. “And as president, I’ve never been more proud.”
But the efforts don’t stop there – the employees keep on giving.
 
Each year, UAW Local 863 hosts Breakfast with Santa, and this year more than 350 people were in attendance. Individuals from around the community were invited to enjoy a warm breakfast, holiday games and the opportunity to have their picture taken with Santa. All the children left with full stomachs and a smile on their face, as they each received a toy with their departure.
 
To top off these miraculous efforts, employees donated to local food pantries through a Holiday Gate Collection and raised more than U.S. $2,700.
 
“This is a collaborative effort from very generous people,” said Lawwill.” “Our membership is second to none, and their commitment to helping those in need has been truly heartwarming.”
 

LIVONIA TRANSMISSION PLANT
Christmas Train Display at Livonia Transmission Plant
Harry Rahrig, an electrician at Livonia Transmission Plant, has constructed the plant’s Christmas train display for more than 15 years.  Each year, Harry, and a few of his dedicated co-workers, set up the train in the plant for a little holiday cheer.  Throughout the winding mountainous track, candy is placed in the cars for employees to enjoy.  

Several expansions have been made to the display over the years.  Most of the engines and cars are Lionel, “K” Line or MTH models, because the companies make electric trains with Ford themes and logos.  A few of the trains are even modeled after the Ford Railroad train that brought raw materials into the Rouge Plant in the early 1900s.

Harry and his family are true railfans (railway enthusiasts).  He has a model railroad in his home, and he and his wife ride trains whenever they have the opportunity. He plans to retire this spring with 39 years at Ford Motor Company.  

Annual LTP ‘Christmas Train’ Makes its Final Stop
Harry Rahrig, an electrician at Livonia Transmission Plant, has constructed the plant’s Christmas train display for more than 15 years.  Each year, Rahrig and a few of his dedicated coworkers set up the train in the plant to help spread some holiday cheer.  Throughout the winding mountainous track, candy is placed in the rail cars for employees to enjoy.  

Several expansions have been made to the display over the years.  Most of the engines and cars are Lionel, “K” Line or MTH models, because the companies make electric trains with Ford themes and logos.  A few of the trains are even modeled after the Ford Railroad train that brought raw materials into the Rouge Plant in the early 1900s.
 
Harry and his family are true railway enthusiasts.  He has a model railroad in his home, and he and his wife ride trains whenever they have the opportunity. He plans to retire this spring with 39 years at Ford Motor Company, making this holiday season the last year of his ‘Christmas Train’ at LTP. 

 


WOODHAVEN STAMPING PLANT
Woodhaven Stamping Supports Penrickton Center for Blind Children with Annual Christmas Tradition
The Woodhaven Stamping Plant (WSP) has supported the Penrickton Center for Blind Children for more than 30 years.  The center is a private non-profit agency, that provides five-day residential day care and consultation/evaluation services to blind, multi-disabled children ages one through 12.  Over the years, Penrickton has expanded from  five children to now  assisting  more than 30 and WSP has had a big influence on this growth. 

"Frankly, Penrickton Center would not exist without the support of Woodhaven Stamping Plant," said Kurt Sebaly, Penrickton executive director.

Roy Moore, tow driver at WSP, helped coordinate the first Penrickton Christmas party at the UAW Local 387 in the late 1970s.  He dressed up as Santa for the kids and his wife joined him as Mrs. Claus, his dog as Rudolph, and at one time even his children would dress as elves.  Moore has done this for nearly 30 years and the Penrickton Christmas party has become an honored tradition among WSP employees.

The Christmas party was one of the first organized field trips for the children of Penrickton. Sebaly was just starting out at Penrickton and he said that the children "Enjoyed it immensely."  According to Sebaly, the field trip to the union building spawned more field trips to places such as wave pools, water parks, zoos, petting farms and many others.

"I have to say without hesitation that this event has changed Penrickton Center for the better," Sebaly added.

Over the years, Sebaly estimates that the total donations from the WSP employees to be more than $900,000.  Roughly half of that total comes from the Frostbite Open Golf Outing, which partnered with Penrickton in 1998 and is coordinated by the Local 387 and WSP.  In addition, Penrickton also gets support from the Parts Redistribution Center in Brownstown, Livonia Transmission and Experimental Vehicles.  Sebaly pointed out that often times Penrickton Center is one of the first charities chosen by volunteers from the Ford Volunteer Corps program. 

"Ford volunteers both hourly and salaried have made a huge difference from cutting down trees, landscaping, building a garage, to helping with our major renovation in 2001," Sebaly said.

Penrickton's goal is to help each and every child become as independent as they possibly can.  It is the only charity in Michigan that works exclusively with blind, multi-disabled children and they do this without state, federal, United Way or insurance monies.  Most importantly, there is absolutely no charge for their services and they exist solely through private donations.


CHICAGO ASSEMBLY PLANT
Planting for the Spring
Chicago Assembly Plant is neighbor to one of the most biologically diverse sites in the region.  Located south of the plant at 130th and Torrence, the Hegewisch Marsh houses over 49 native plant specifies and 23 state endangered bird species.  Recently, a group of UAW-Ford volunteers from CAP spent a Saturday morning working with the Chicago Department of Environment and the Chicago Green Corps in planting shrubs throughout this area.  The team planted 50 shrubs in the Hemi-Marsh and 100 shrubs in the forested wetland at the Hegewisch Marsh.  The four species of plants that the volunteers planted will be in full, colorful bloom by the spring time next year.

 

This area has been going through a transformation over the past 8 years.  Gradually, it has been transformed from a former railcar slag and industrial dumping ground to a beautiful wetland with walking trails  with a diverse group of flora and fauna.  This was the third volunteer event that the UAW-Ford CAP team has participated in helping with this transformation efforts and the team looks forward to having more volunteer events in the Spring and Summer of 2012!

CAP Employee Raises more than $100K in Honor of Son
Over the past ten years, Chicago Assembly Plant has been supporting the fundraising efforts of the Stan Penkala and his family in their effort to give back to Make-A-Wish Foundation.  The organization holds a close place to the Penkala family’s heart.  In the summer of 1998, Stan’s son, Kyle, was diagnosed with a unique type of kidney cancer that only affects children under the age of nine.  Kyle was granted a wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation in June of 1999 before he passed away shortly thereafter.
 
Kyle’s wish was to go to Disneyland, however, he was too sick at the time the foundation granted his wish.  Kyle was a big fan of Star Wars, so instead of taking the trip, the Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Kyle’s Star Wars Wish.  He received Star Wars vehicles, action figures, light sabers, books, masks and costumes, “just about anything that was related to Star Wars at that time,” Penkala added.
 
“It’s impossible to say enough about the memories we made while playing with Kyle and his Star Wars stuff,” Penkala said.  The family was so grateful for support they received from the Make-A-Wish Foundation that they wanted to say thank you, and in return, hoped one day they would be in the position to contribute to the wish of another child.
 
In 2002, they coordinated the 1st Annual Kyle Penkala Golf Outing, in which 75 golfers participated and 70 people attended, raising more than $5,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  This year was the 10th year of the golf outing, which has raised more than $100,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation since its inception.
 
To learn more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit www.wish.org.
 

LIMA ENGINE PLANT
LEP and UAW Local 1219 Stuff an F-250 for Toys for Tots
Lima Engine Plant and UAW Local 1219 kicked off its annual Toys for Tots drive on December 5 with a visit from a very special guest, Santa Claus. Santa visited with each employee, taking photos and accepting cash donations to help provide for children in need.

 

Each year, LEP and UAW Local 1219 stuff a vehicle full of gifts for children in need that are helped by the Toys for Tots program.

By the second day of the toy drive, employees had filled the bed of an F-250. Everything collected will be delivered to the Lima Salvation Army on December 12. Toys for Tots is a program sponsored by the Salvation Army on Market Street in Lima, OH.
 

CHICAGO STAMPING PLANT
CSP Employee Helps Fulfill Christmas Wishes in Ford Heights Community
For nearly ten years, Crystal Mason has taken on an extraordinary holiday project with the help of friends, family and her fellow employees at the Chicago Stamping Plant. Each year Crystal helps fulfill the Christmas wishes of 30 to 35 underprivileged children from the Ford Heights community.  She coordinates volunteers to sponsor these children who make sure their Christmas wishes don’t go unanswered.

 

Many of the sponsors purchase a child's entire wish list and some sponsor more than one. Crystal ensures that all Christmas wishes are met and makes up any shortfall by purchasing any gifts that haven't been fulfilled by one of her volunteers. She also works hard to collect all the gifts by walking the parking lot at CSP and even making home visits to collect if necessary.

This act of goodwill began when Crystal and Henry Lindsay, a retired blanker operator, decided to make Christmas a little merrier for less fortunate children.  When Henry retired a few years ago, Crystal continued the tradition. She even received a thank you letter from the city of Ford Heights in recognition of her and her coworkers efforts to make the holidays brighter for those in need.
 

KANSAS CITY ASSEMBLY PLANT
KCAP Turkey Drive Feeds Hundreds of Needy Families
In the early morning hours on November 3rd and 4th, KCAP employees and the UAW Community Service Committee, bundled in coats, scarves, gloves and turkey suits, stood at the entrance to the plant collecting money as employees entered the plant.  The donations, a total of $5,006.88, were put toward buying turkeys for those in need in the community during the Thanksgiving holiday.  Kim Rowland, head of the committee, said, “helping people is our job, it’s everybody’s job.” 
 
The tradition started 35 years ago by retiree Al Santellan, who saw a need in the community and wanted to help.  When the program first started, employees brought Thanksgiving dinner items and placed them in numerous laundry baskets, which were then donated to those in need nominated by employees at the plant.  Year after year, the donations became so numerous, that collecting money and buying turkeys became the preferred method of giving. 
 
This year employees were able to provide 440 turkeys to partnering agencies in the Kansas City Area.  One of the most impressive aspects of the program is that all of the volunteers who helped collect the money did it on their own time. Kim’s committee feels compelled to help out since the drive helps provide meals for so many people in the area. Of her efforts with the turkey drive, she put it simply as, “it’s near and dear to my heart.” 
 

KENTUCKY TRUCK PLANT
KTP Employees and UAW Brighten the Holidays at St. Joseph Children’s Home
Kentucky Truck Plant employees and the UAW have elected to help brighten the holiday season once more for St. Joseph Children's Home in Louisville, KY.   The home offers support to families in crisis situations and assists children in overcoming obstacles which could limit growth and development. In response to changing societal conditions, St. Joseph has evolved from an orphanage to a more diversified child caring facility.
 
Last holiday season was a great success as the plant was able to provide each child with everything on their wish lists.  St. Joseph was very grateful for the generosity of the KTP team, and through KTP’s efforts, were able to make it a very special Christmas for children otherwise may have not had one.  The total amount raised last year by KTP employees for St. Joseph Children's Home was $7,540.00. An additional $ 1,400.00 in presents was also donated to support the effort.
 
This year’s giving has already begun and employees are excited to once again help children who are in need. For more information on St. Joseph Children’s Home, visit www.sjkids.org.
 

 

 


 

 

  

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12/7/2011 12:00 AM