“United Auto Workers (UAW) exceeds our expectations,” says Facilities Director, Todd Marriott after VFW National Home receives a new plow truck with all the bells and whistles.
With one truck at 16 years old and the other at 23 and falling apart, VFW National Home Facility Director Todd Marriott knew he needed to begin finding a replacement for the hard-used work vehicles on the campus that not only plowed snow from the streets and parking lots all winter long, but also continually moved furniture, landscaping materials, and building materials to and from the 42 residential homes and the 70 total buildings on campus.
“We even haul hogs and rabbits for the kids who live at the Home who are in 4-H,” he chuckled.
With the vehicle shortages as a result of the pandemic, he was concerned about even finding a vehicle. That’s when he decided to reach out to the UAW directly, calling on a relationship that started decades earlier.
UAW/VFW National Home Connection
Years ago, the UAW veterans began holding regional meetings at the VFW National Home. As the years went by, their interest in the Home and the important work it was doing in the lives of veterans increased. So much so that in 2005 they built a residential home on the campus to increase the number of families that could be helped, calling it the Steven P. Yokich Duplex after a past UAW president and veteran.
“I can’t say enough good about the VFW National Home. This is real, real work they are doing,” said UAW Staff Council president Scott Andrews.
Since then, various regional UAW groups have offered volunteer services, supplied bikes to the children, and even put on an annual carnival for the kids who lived at the Home.
Got More Than He Asked For
“Since trucks are so hard to find right now, I thought I’d call Scott Andrews to see if he could help and maybe even offer a discount,” explained Marriott.
Marriott was looking for a basic hard-working truck. Yet, when Andrews learned of the need, he had something else in mind.
Working with the UAW Region 1D’s Director, Steve Dawes, the two men pulled strings and pulled out all the stops and had a custom 2022 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Crew Cab built locally in Flint, MI for the VFW National Home.
“They said they needed just a bare truck and I thought they needed more,” said Dawes.
“I was just expecting a basic truck and this one has the spray in bed liner, satellite radio, bucket seats, crew cab, step sides, trailering package, cruise control, and remote start,” said Marriott.
“The UAW believes in giving back especially where we work and live and what better way to give back than to the VFW National Home who is supporting veterans who defended our freedom,” said Dawes.
The normal sale price for a truck of this value is $60,000 and General Motors offered it to the VFW National Home for $43,000, and then the UAW Staff Council even donated $10,000 toward the balance due. They joined the Military Order of the Cootie Grand of Texas who donated $15,000 and other VFW organizations and individuals across the country to cover the complete cost of the much-needed vehicle.
“I am elated and proud to have a relationship with the UAW that benefited the VFW National Home. My father and father-in-law were in the UAW so we have a history,” said Marriott.
“Shame on us if we don’t back our veterans. I can’t say enough good about the VFW National Home,” said Andrews.
“The VFW National Home thanks the UAW Staff Council, the Military Order of the Cootie Grand of Texas, and other VFW organizations and individuals across the country that made this happen by helping pay for the truck,” added Development Director Sue Alverson.
When it came time to hand the keys over, they went into the most fitting hands imaginable. Eric Reichsetter, facility supervisor for the VFW National Home will be the primary user of the truck.
The army veteran and alumnus of the VFW National Home received the keys gladly.