The Joseph J. Nigro SMART Army Service Award — given each year to one sheet metal and one Transportation Division member — represents one of the highest honors a SMART worker can receive: a recognition of solidarity and dedication to their union, their SMART brothers and sisters and their community. This year’s winners — who received their awards during the SMART Leadership Conference in San Francisco in August— are a testament to the crucial role SMART members play across our country.
“This year’s winners — who received their awards during the SMART Leadership Conference in San Francisco in August — are a testament to the crucial role SMART members play across our country.”
Kevin Turner, a sheet metal retiree at SMART Local 18 (Wisconsin), has devoted himself to service since retiring. For many years, Kevin chose to support his community through Habitat for Humanity, which provides housing for less privileged families. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Kevin has attended monthly Waukesha County Labor Council Community Service Meetings; volunteered at the Walkers Point Center for the Arts (a United Way nonprofit organization); assisted with the Milwaukee River Cleanup; helped put on Local 18’s blood drive; helped feed the homeless and hungry at the Hope Center in Waukesha; volunteered at the union booth during the Waukesha County Fair, educating fairgoers about unions; performed spring and fall roof cleaning at the Association for the Rights of Citizens with Handicaps; and assisted with raising $1,500 for those in need through bell ringing with the Salvation Army outside a union grocery store.
Johnny Walker, a member of TD Local 610 (Baltimore) and SM Local 100 (Washington, D.C. area), has made his name synonymous with labor solidarity and community service. A former U.S. Navy Corpsman, Johnny has been known to drive overnight from Baltimore to Galesburg, Ill., to participate in a rally for rail labor; take part in the entire 40-plus-mile Blair Mountain March in solidarity with the United Mine Workers of America, as well as support UMWA workers striking at Warrior Met Coal; shovel his neighbors’ driveways during blizzards; and much more. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic — in addition to working as an essential railroader — Johnny went out of his way to deliver food and goods to veterans and seniors, putting his life on the line to keep his community safe and healthy. He is a regular presence at SMART Army events, and he will always show up when called upon to support his union brothers and sisters.
SMART congratulates Kevin and Johnny on this well-deserved honor!