The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 697 and the local chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association joined forces this summer and donated a total of $160,000 to the TradeWinds Building Fund.
TradeWinds Services, founded in 1966 to serve people with special needs, announced last year that it is moving from its current Gary location to a newer facility in Hobart to both enhance programs and expand outreach in the Northwest Indiana community. The Hobart building, valued at $1.25 million, was presented to TradeWinds by an anonymous donor and is undergoing renovation.
“We’re proud of our organization’s long relationship with TradeWinds and its commitment to serve those who have disabilities,” said Dan Waldrop, business manager and financial secretary for IBEW Local 697. “When the original TradeWinds structure was built in the 1960s, IBEW members joined with other local unions to donate hundreds of volunteer hours to the project.
Now that TradeWinds is moving to a new location, we wanted to be the first among the trades to once again pledge our support in volunteer hours and by making a major gift to this deserving cause.” On behalf of IBEW 697, Waldrop presented a check for $100,000 to fund construction costs of the new sign shop — a TradeWinds business endeavor that employs adults with special needs.
At the same time, Dody Russell, treasurer of the local chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, signed and presented a check for $60,000 to underwrite a sign shop annex and fund a state-of-the-art computer lab.
“This is an important investment in the Northwest Indiana community and the contractors I represent are eager to be part of it,” commented Russell. “Because of the programs offered through TradeWinds, the children and adults served will lead fuller and more productive lives, and that is priceless.”