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December 31, 2018 @ 12:00am

WI Pipe Trades Supports KWW/CF/Heat and Housing for Heroes in Many Ways

Along with being in the forefront of progressive action that has resulted in the training and employment of veterans, the Pipe Trades has also been a major factor in raising public awareness in media markets around the state of Wisconsin and meeting veterans unmet needs. Their rank and file support of the highly successful Heat and Housing for Heroes ad campaign has resulted in an unprecedented number of veterans averting life threatening emergency situations.

The bond that’s been formed between KWWCF/Heat and Housing for Heroes and organizations across the state has led to thousands of veterans and their families receiving assistance and not worrying about basic necessities such as heat and housing.

Among the hundreds, if not thousands, of collaborations that KWWCF/Heat and Housing for Heroes has established since its founding, some of the longest lasting have been with Steamfitters Local 601, Plumbers 75, and the Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association.

The first time business manager and Steamfitters Local 601 Officer Joel Zielke caught wind of Tim Bruer, it was regarding Heat’s On program and its work to inspect and service heating systems in the homes of Dane County veterans. It’s an initiative that started 31 years ago, where steamfitters volunteer a day of labor to inspect and service heating systems in veterans’ homes in Dane County.

“Every year we end up finding at least one to three furnaces that are truly bad and need to be shut down and replaced, some sort of tragedy could happen if that wasn’t done,” Zielke said. “The members (of the organization) go out and talk to these veterans in their houses, the elderly ones seldom get a lot of visits, so it’s nice to go there and talk to them and hear them out for a Saturday morning … it really makes our guys feel good about what they’re doing, too.”

The Heat’s On program and the things Bruer aspired to do with KWWCF/Heat and Housing for Heroes were synonymous, and the rest was history.

“They, with their contractors and supply houses, provide the labor for thousands of the highest risk households trying to survive below the poverty level,” Bruer said. “They’ve even worked with others to replace the carbon monoxide poisoning that’s been found.”

Bruer credited the Heat’s On program and steamfitters for aiding in identifying those who need assistance. For Zielke, continuing to support veterans, especially those in crisis, has always been a no-brainer.

“Everyone knows what veterans have done throughout this nation’s history for citizens, we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them,” he said. “It’s the least we can do; it’s something we can do to give back to those veterans who have given us so much.”

Organizations like Steamfitters Local 601, Plumbers 75 and the Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association have each been integral to the success of KWWCF/Heat and Housing for Heroes as it continues helping veterans and their families. At a golf outing this past summer, Steamfitters Local 601 raised $8,000 that was donated directly to KWWCF/Heat and Housing for Heroes.

“They have been in the forefront of aggressive action to help us fund those outreach and network activities that have been so successful,” Bruer said.

Upon hearing the genesis of Bruer’s idea to start KWWCF/Heat and Housing for Heroes, Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association President Terry Hayden was quick to jump on board. He lent his support to the organization, and the Wisconsin Pipe Trades Association board approved additional support by sponsoring an ad campaign to be run over several major military holidays. The ads have been a huge success, running on major television networks and at various Milwaukee Brewers games.

“We looked at it as a board and said, ‘This really fits, it’s good work and it fits with some of the other stuff that we’re doing,’” Hayden said.

Terry added that the picture painted the first time he saw the ad runs caused him to become emotional. “It choked me up,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder of what we’re doing.”

Bruer pointed to the ad campaign as being integral to raising awareness to such an important issue, and letting people know that if they know a veteran in need, KWWCF/Heat and Housing for Heroes is there for them.

“We have literally seen participation every year increasing at an unprecedented level from 3,680 veterans in 2016 to over 9,400 during 2018 and much of that increased activity is driven by these highly publicized effective ads,” Bruer said. “There’s no question we’d never be where we’re at today, if not for the veterans ad campaign which has gone a long way in raising awareness and breaking through some artificial barriers we’ve faced.

“The pipe trades have historically been and continue to be the backbone of not only our workforce in middle class America, but they have been a key to our success in alleviating those life-threatening situations. We all owe a debt of gratitude to trade labor organizations like them for all they do, they are clearly one of our major unsung heroes.”

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Post tags:Partner Heroes