The Local 80 SMART Army was out in full force this April in Detroit, Mich., headed up by retiree Richard Flood and Apprenticeship Training Center Instructor Dennis Marintette. After a long career training the next generation of apprentices at the Local 80 Training Center, Flood now donates much of his time to Habitat for Humanity and other charitable projects, where his talents and skills help those in need. Using material donated by Local 80, equipment generously donated by one of Local 80’s signatory contractors — Macomb Mechanical — and the guidance of the training instructors, Local 80 apprentices showed up to install the HVAC system for local nonprofit PR Kids.

In 2016, Beth Pierson founded PR Kids to provide assistance to mothers in need. Whether it be low-income, undocumented or single parents — or any of a multitude of other situations — PR Kids offers help in securing affordable housing, prenatal services, therapy or even help with finding employment in child care. Pierson recently purchased a house from the Detroit land bank, intending to create an office to accommodate local families in need, as well as a nursing clinic on-site to assist new mothers with infant nursing. She spent a lot of her own money to make the structure safe and inhabitable, and now she is receiving support from others in the community to push her effort over the finish line.

The SMART Army was out in full force in Dearborn Heights Michigan the week of November 1st, 2021.  Upon hearing of a need by some very worthy recipients, SMART Local 80 Detroit apprentices answered that call.

Jaime Wencel, a young unwed mother, died shortly after giving birth to her fifth child.  Amid those terrible circumstances, Jaime’s parents, Debbie and Tom Wencel, stepped in to raise her 5 children, Cara (13), Paige (10), Jenna (8), Cayden (6) and Nina (4).

Debbie and Tom, who is a retired Local 1401 Drywall Finisher, have spent much of their lives volunteering and giving back to their community.  Tom is a member of the Dearborn Heights City Council, and his daughter Jaime worked many hours for his campaign to help him get elected.  They live in a modest two bedroom home, and suddenly had a need to add on a second floor addition to provide Jaime’s children with the adequate space to grow.

Many local companies and individuals have stepped up to help the Wencel Family and the Charity now  simply known as “Jaime’s Kids”.  Building materials and labor have been donated from multiple local supply houses and contractors as well as over 100 volunteers that have donated their time and talents to starting the second floor addition project.

It was brought to the attention of the SMART Local 80’s Apprenticeship Training director, Matt ORourk, that there was a need to have the metal panel roof installed over the porches on both the front and the side of the house.  The material had been donated and was on-site, but the estimates for installation by a local contractor was steep. SMART Local 80 generously donated their time and skill to get the job done.  Led by Local 80 Training Center Instructor Sam Velez, a crew of apprentices showed up to volunteer to install the panels.

List of SMART members who attended:

Richard Davidson, Drake Wonifeil, Dan Hines, Jacob Ciner, Alex Bastien, Michael Lopez, Quinn Gattori, Travis Harper, Alan Dickson, Hunter Brotherton, Daniel Bleyaert, Joshua Gibbons, Sam Velez (Instructor), Bob Wenzell (Organizer 292), David Hartsuck (Organizer 80)

The tariff strategy was not enough to preserve the jobs of 1,500 steel workers in the Detroit area who are being laid off by U.S. Steel.
The Great Lakes Works in Ecorse and River Rouge, Mich., will have three portions of its operations drawn down with iron and steelmaking operations ceased by April 1.
The company also reported a reduction in its dividend after reporting in October its first quarterly loss since the implementation of the tariffs in 2018.
Read the full story on CNN.