SMART Local 219 (Rockford, Illinois) sheet metal worker Josh Reynolds is a first-year apprentice who learned about the union from his friend, fellow member Isaiah Myers. After completing his pre-apprenticeship and starting his career at Local 219, he says the trade has already “changed my life for the better.” Read his BE4ALL “How I became a SMART member” submission:

“My buddy Isaiah Myers told me about Local 219, and I’d been trying to get into the field for a while prior. I came from website development and design and jumped straight into the sheet metal field – I haven’t looked back since, and I’ve loved every minute of it. I was lucky enough to get a spot as a pre-apprentice; I proved – through hard work and dedication – that I could be taught well, and landed an apprenticeship as a first year (which I currently am). This journey changed my life for the better simply by introducing me to this trade!”

SMART SM Local 265 (DuPage County, Ill.) celebrated the graduation of 40 apprentices to journeyperson status on Friday, August 26, with International Organizers Paul Hayes and Darrell Garrison joining the Local 265 and Local 219 (Rockford, Ill.) leadership and staff for an honorary reception.

“Turnout was great for a graduation ceremony,” said Dennis Moran, a member of the Local 265 education department. “I’m very proud of all the graduates, they have worked very hard to get to this point.”

Of the 40 new journeypersons, 19 are sheet metal workers, while 21 are service technicians — including four from Local 219, who used the Local 265 service program for their training. SMART congratulates these brothers and sisters on their hard-earned achievement!

SMART Local 265 Business Manager: John Daniel

Business Agents: Matt Gugala, Kevin Galass, Brian McSherry, Ron Mika, Brian Dahlman

Organizer: Jay Jones

SMART International Representative: Paul Hayes

International Training Institute: Darrell Garrison

Local 219 Business Manager: Joe Cook

SMART Local 265 Education Staff:

Dennis Moran: Director of Training

Instructors: Joe Carone, Anthony Aarns, Kelly Marcellis, Chris James, Joel Orozco

Graduates 2022:

Sheet Metal: Joseph Balzer, Matt Beaudoin, Michael Callahan, Dan Courtright, Grant Fehrenbach, Hunter Freres, James Gerasco, Bryan Granzow, Tim Greenhill, Pete Helms, Greg Krupa, Lucas Lage, Adam Miller, Alyssa Moss, Jay Smithberg, Dan Spencer, Nick Svoboda, Wesley Taylor, Danielle Wilson

Service: Rocco Cervone, Brandon D’Ambrosia, Jordan Dotson, Eric Estes, Justin Garrelts, Shawn Gilles (Local 219), Robert Harris, Martin Heidkamp, Tanner LaFew (Local 219), Alec Mingl, Michael Napier, Clayton Omelson, Brett Piller, Michael Rueck, John Straple, Anthony Tortorelli, Keven Ward, Kyle White (Local 219), Matt Wolf (Local 219), Tyler Zitzka, Drake Zollers

Thirty-one of the scholarship recipients, as well as Local 219 Recording Secretary Mike Sneed, President Todd Whitlock and Business Manager/Financial Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Cook (right to left, to the left of the podium).

On Tuesday, July 26, SM Local 219 (Rockford, Ill.) awarded $1,500 academic scholarships to 38 local students — amounting to a total of $57,000.

“It means a lot to me, it means a lot that they were able to give out that amount of money, and I know it’s helping a lot of people — including me,” local student Brennen Cook told Rockford NBC affiliate WREX 13.

Buddy Lee Strieker, an officer of Local 219 (Hannibal, Mo.) for the vast majority of his 24-plus years with our union, died as a result of a switching accident on April 7 in Louisiana, Mo. He was 56 years old.
Brother Strieker was vice local chairperson of LCA-001A and the secretary/treasurer of his local for more than two decades. A trainman/brakeman for BNSF, he also served as an LCA secretary and as a delegate for his local at the Second SMART Transportation Division Convention in 2019.
An investigation has been launched by the National Transportation Safety Board into Brother Strieker’s death with a member of the TD National Safety Team participating.
Brother Strieker was a veteran of the U.S. Army. He is survived by his wife of 34 years, Lisa; his son, Matthew; a granddaughter; two step-grandchildren; three brothers; two sisters and other relatives.
“Away from work, Buddy loved being outside and visiting the family farm,” his family wrote in Brother Strieker’s obituary. “Buddy had a green thumb and enjoyed working in his garden where he grew tomatoes, cucumbers, jalapeños, and banana peppers. A wonderful cook, Buddy made the most delicious cheesecakes, birthday cakes, and soups.”
Tony Wyman, a union brother out of Local 445 (Niota, Ill.) remembered on an online memorial page how he was mentored by Brother Strieker after hiring on as a BNSF conductor.
“Buddy … told me ‘as long as you’re with me you’ll be OK,’ ” Wyman wrote. “I’m heartbroken that he is gone! Buddy had a story or a joke every time he went to work! People of the BNSF family in Quincy lost a legend …and I mean a serious legend!”
The SMART Transportation Division offers its deep condolences to Brother Strieker’s family, friends and to his Local 219 brothers and sisters for the loss of this stalwart and dedicated member of our union.