USW member goes to the Dominican - not to vacation, but make difference

USW Local 2243 member Shawn Bresnahan, an inspection lines operator at Ohio Star Forge Co. in Warren, Ohio, spent the week from March 17th until the 24th in the Dominican Republic – not for vacation – but a mission trip to build a medical clinic and provide badly needed supplies for families in the area.

Even though the small Caribbean nation is almost 1,700 miles from Warren, the members of Local 2243 generously supported Bresnahan’s efforts with donations, contributions and fundraisers.

The trip was organized by the Giving Hands Foundation, which is dedicated to serving the needs of the residents in the Dominican’s most impoverished communities, which are still rebuilding after suffering tremendous damage by hurricanes Irma and Maria last year.

Bresnahan’s group worked on building a large, pavilion-like structure from which to disperse supplies and necessities to those in need and distributed medical kits for the families in the area.

The group worked with medical professionals to hold a one-day clinic where residents could seek free treatment for sicknesses and a wide variety of medical issues.

After their work day finished, Bresnahan and other volunteers organized and played baseball with the boys, volleyball with the girls and softball with the adults.

When the schedule allowed, he spent time at an orphanage visiting and playing games with the children.

Many people were curious about Bresnahan’s USW Local 2243 t-shirt, so he even had an opportunity to talk to them about the important role unions play in the U.S., giving workers a stronger voice on the job and by negotiating with employers for fair pay and benefits.

A Dominican teacher said that he is forbidden from taking time off from his job although some of his coworkers are permitted. With the help of an interpreter, Bresnahan told him that standing together as a union gives workers leverage to bargain for fairer and better working conditions.

After his week of hard work and service during the trip, Bresnahan reflected on how thankful he was for the opportunity to share his three most important values throughout the mission: his faith, his love for helping others and his union.

We are all very proud to call him our brother. Click on the image below to view a photo slideshow from the trip. 



Local 2243 Mission to Dominican Republic

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