Exotic beaches and cruises aren’t what takes Devin Winiecke to distant countries year after year. It’s a commitment to helping people with his skills as an electrician and member of Los Angeles Local 2295.
|Local 2295 member Devin Winiecke uses his skills to help those in need, at home and abroad. Pictured here in Haiti, in a red T-shirt.
That’s what’s taken him to Haiti three times since 2010, to Mexico in 2014 and to the South Asian mountains of Nepal in 2015.
“Devin is a great example of someone who thinks beyond himself and gives back to those in need,” said Local 2295 Business Manager David Clay. “He is the embodiment of the concept of brotherhood.”
Winiecke volunteers with his church, both at home and abroad, traversing continents from North America to Asia. When his pastor showed him photos of the devastation that killed more than 200,000 people in Haiti in 2010, he decided to join his church in putting its mission into action and journey to the Caribbean nation.
“In every picture, I saw work that needed to be done, that I could help with,” Winiecke said.
Like any good volunteer, he did whatever needed to be done, from electrical work to plumbing and repairing cinder blocks, to building classrooms, a kitchen and a church.
“I don’t know how many of us could live in their shoes,” said Winiecke of the Haitians he met, oftentimes living without clean water or electricity. “There is a lot of strength there.”
Winiecke’s church partnered with one on the ground and they worked with Promise Child, an organization that helps children get an education by providing them with meals, clothing and school supplies. That kitchen Winiecke helped build is now serving breakfast and lunch to students in need.
“It’s important to give back, and for me to share the love of Jesus Christ,” Winiecke said. “And it’s a wonderful thing to be able to give someone running water and a light at night.”
While in Nepal, he did maintenance work on a sanctuary, installing fans and other electrical work for classrooms. He also worked on a three-story home that will be turned into an orphanage for girls, many of whom lost their parents to the recent earthquake or are fleeing the sex trade.
In Mexico, Winiecke worked on a camp that helps men recovering from substance abuse and on a dormitory for teenage boys. He installed lights and did a service upgrade to ensure the building was up to code, which will allow it to take in more teens.
“When you think of orphanages, you think of young kids, but there are older kids too and this gives them a place to go so they don’t get into trouble,” Winiecke said.
A shop steward and IBEW member for 13 years, Winiecke also shares his skills at home. His church keeps a list of people in need of help with odd jobs. Many are older women living alone. Whenever there is a listing for something he can do, he signs up.
Winiecke noted how traveling to other countries has helped him realize just how good he has it, and how it has changed his perspective.
“I don’t take as much for granted,” he said. “Mountains can be moved when individuals put aside their differences and work together for a common goal. The same can be said of our union whenever there is a job that needs to be done.”
“He really walks the walk,” said Ninth District Vice President John O’Rourke. “He does the work to make the spirit of solidarity and community a reality. And he does it everywhere he goes.”