November 2009

index.html Home    Print    Email

Go to

Illinois Local Announces Scholarship Winners

Rising college tuition rates are putting a squeeze on many families' pocketbooks—but for 10 lucky IBEW families, some help is on the way. Downers Grove, Ill., Local 15 announced the winners of its first annual Local 15 scholarship award in September to help students pay for their classes and supplies.

Award recipients earned $500 toward tuition at any accredited college or technical school.

"It's not a ton of money, but it can go a long way to help lessen some of the load students have to carry," said Local 15 Business Manager Dean Apple.

Applicants, who must be Local 15 members or dependents, were judged on the basis of academic achievement, leadership skills and community involvement, as well as a written essay in which candidates had to explain how coming from an IBEW family has affected their lives.

Apple and other members of the selection committee said they were moved by many of the responses, in which students talked about how the wages and benefits provided to their family by the union gave them the opportunity to pursue a college education.

Apple says the committee was overwhelmed by the response the scholarship program got, with more than 70 applications submitted.

This is the program's first year and Apple says the local is planning to do it again. "The membership is 100 percent behind the program," Apple said. "It's a little something we can do to help our members and their families."

Chicago-Area Local Hits the Road to Help Vets

When members of Lisle, Ill., Local 701, wanted to do something to help their community back in 2008, reaching out to military veterans during a time of war seemed like a logical choice.

"We wanted to show the vets we're behind them," said Executive Board member Guy Rossi.

Two years later, the local's charity event "Riders for Homeless Vets" has become a huge success. The latest ride, Sept. 13, brought together more than 150 motorcyclists for a 100-mile trip from the union hall in Warrenville, through the Illinois countryside and back. It raised more than $8,000 for a veterans' shelter.

"A tear rolled down one vet's cheek when we showed up with the check last year," Rossi said. "It felt really good."

The Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans, in Wheaton, Ill., provides housing and other services to help veterans re-enter civilian life.

Members of Local 701 present a check to the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans in Wheaton, Ill.