USW Cares: Retiree from Pennsylvania wins top Jefferson Award honor for community service

Contact: Connie Mabin, 412-562-2616, cmabin@usw.org

A retired United Steelworkers member from Pennsylvania who channeled his grief into good after his teenaged daughter died from liver cancer has won top honors from the Jefferson Awards Foundation, marking the third–straight year the union has taken a national prize for its community service work.

Marc Scott, a member of Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) Chapter 15-20 and former member of USW Local 7139 in Washington, Pa., Thursday night was among grassroots heroes honored with national Jefferson Awards Foundation awards.

Scott channeled his grief into good after his only daughter, Olivia, died from liver cancer at age 17. He wanted to honor her memory and pay forward the generosity and compassion his family received in some of their darkest days.

Nine years later, the Olivia Scott Foundation has donated over $250,000, provided assistance to youth in life-altering situations, given scholarships, promoted sportsmanship, supported community service events and given back to Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital – where you can find Olivia’s Coffee cart, Olivia’s Stockings filled with toys at holiday time, and Olivia’s Books for patients and their families. The Foundation also hosts holiday parties for hospital staff and provides prom and formal wear to students in need.

“Marc’s strength and compassion, especially after such personal tragedy, represent the resilience of our union and the amazing people in it so well,” said Leo W. Gerard, USW’s International President. “We are humbled that USW has taken the Jefferson Awards’ top award for the third-straight year, but the recognition isn’t why we’re so active in our communities. It’s because it’s the right thing to do.”

“Olivia’s courage, hope and grace is the reason we give,” Scott said. “I’m humbled by this award and grateful for my union for helping shine a spotlight on the Olivia Scott Foundation so that we can continue to do the work of helping others.”

The USW is a Champion with the Jefferson Awards Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to building a culture of service through a variety of programs and awards. As a Champion, the union was able to create a formal structure to allow members and retirees to be nominated for Jefferson Awards and put a spotlight on USW Cares efforts in communities across North America. The program includes training to help build leadership and other skills through effective community service.

The National Ceremony, now in its 46th year, took place June 28, 2018 at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. and was sponsored by the NFL, Vodafone, Clearsight Advisors, Deloitte, The Glover Park Group and USW.

Scott was selected as the USW’s overall Jefferson Awards Foundation Champion volunteer for 2018. The union had over 150 nominations from each of its districts in the United States and Canada and from among its Steelworker Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR). The 2018 USW regional Jefferson Award winners are:

District 1 (Ohio): Katrina Fitzgerald, Local Union 1123, Canton, Ohio for coordinating an annual car wash to benefit the domestic violence shelter, an annual golf tournament to benefit veterans and serving her community and union in various other ways.

District 2 (Michigan, Wisconsin): Women of Steel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This regional council of Women of Steel (WOS) activists from the southern Wisconsin area help year round in various ways, from fundraising for Special Olympics and other causes to helping veterans and the homeless. WOS in District 2 also volunteer at schools to teach kids about the union.

District 3 (British Columbia, Canada): Julie Charbonneau, Local 1944, Burnaby, B.C. for her decades of service as a shop steward and getting others involved through community service. She organizes several events to help the homeless, the addicted and the mentally ill. 

District 4 (New York, Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Puerto Rico): USW Local 135L, Tonawanda, N.Y., for raising more than $170,000 for the Make a Wish Foundation, helping the homeless, raising tens of thousands of dollars to help USW sisters and brothers affected by hurricanes, and supporting in-need families in various other ways.

District 5 (Quebec, Canada): Daniel Mallette, USW Local 919, Montreal, for his 25-year commitment to supporting workers, including raising $5,000 a year for community organizations that help workers on strike. He also raises money for the United Way and volunteers to support youth, women, homeless and others in need.

District 6 (Ontario, Canada): Phillip Stewart-Bourgoyne, USW Local 8327, Ottawa, for his time volunteering at area food banks, a rehab center and raising money for the homeless. Phil leads several volunteer activities at his local, including adopting families during the holidays, and he is known for promoting the union wherever he goes.

District 7 (Indiana, Illinois): Markael Watkins, USW Local 1014, Gary, Indiana, for his tireless dedication to building the Community Services committee at his local. He has lead actions to provide veterans with hot meals, honor American’s first black mayor, Richard Hatcher, and give bicycles to under-privileged children.

District 8 (West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky): Robert Stoots, USW Local 8495, Parrott, Va., for his decades’ long service at the local volunteer fire department, political activism and time coaching youth sports. As a first responder, Stoots has earned a reputation for helping countless USW members who work at the ammunition facility who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

District 9 (Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee): Carla Leslie, USW Local 15120, Chattanooga, Tenn., for her endless commitment to service work; Carla helps the homeless, organizes coat drives, reads to children and volunteers wherever possible. She is also credited with helping build her local’s Women of Steel program.

District 10 (Pennsylvania):  Robin Drace, USW Local 10-0086, Harleysville, Pa., for her program that provides care packages to deployed soldiers serving in the U.S. military. With the help of her union sisters and brothers, she’s sent more than 3,000 care packages abroad.

District 11 (Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa):  Lana Hiltbrunner, USW Local 9460, Ely, Minnesota, for her work planning an annual fishing tournament that benefits Cystic Fibrosis and working for over a decade to provide Cystic Fibrosis education and help find a cure.

District 12 (California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Idaho):  USW Local 7600 Civil and Human Rights Committee, Fontana, Calif., for their tireless commitment to not only fighting for social justice but also leading their local’s community service efforts, which include annual toy drives, monthly food drives and volunteerism.

District 13 (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas):  Juan Almanza, USW Local 227, Pasadena, Texas, for his work with other USW members providing necessities and supplies to Steelworkers impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, including sending a massive shipping container full of supplies to Puerto Rico. Jennifer Penner of USW Local 241 in Kansas, District 11, co-led this project.

Staff: Marcos Velez, District 13, for his commitment to helping USW members become active in their union and communities, including assisting with hurricane relief efforts and thinking outside-the-box with ideas such as bargaining scholarship programs to help domestic violence survivors earn employment at USW-represented facilities

About the USW: The USW is North America’s largest industrial union, representing 1.2 million active and retired workers in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply, and the energy-producing industries. For more information: @Steelworkers on social networks and www.usw.org/uswcares.

About the Jefferson Awards Foundation: The Jefferson Awards Foundation is committed to tapping into the incredible capacity and spirit of Americans. Its Youth programs, Students In Action, LEAD360, and GlobeChangers, support, train and empower youth to be leaders and changemakers. Its vast network of Media Partners honors local unsung heroes who are the best of their communities. Its Champions and National Partners are engaging, activating and celebrating their millions of constituents and employees. All together, working to build a culture of service in the country. For more information: www.jeffersonawards.org, @JeffersonAwards.

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