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Earl Henry retired from General Motors' Truck and Bus facility in Flint, Mich., in 1988 after 35 years building vehicles.
But the UAW Local 598 member didn't retire from life. Quite the opposite.
Retirement gave him the chance to focus more of his time and attention on what he had done for years: lending a hand to those in need.
"So many people don't even realize the number of UAW retirees helping out in their communities," said Henry, 74, who chairs the Boyne City (Mich.) UAW International Area Retired Workers Council.
"The guy donating his blood, the Candy Striper at the local hospital, the relief worker after a hurricane -- all of them could be retired UAW workers. They do a lot more than you might think.
"I guess over the years I've found that helping people gives me satisfaction because so many people out there need help. And lately it's been getting worse," he added.
A member of the UAW International Retired Workers Advisory Council, Henry also serves as United Way vice president for Otsego County and recently hosted a spaghetti dinner that raised $2,600.
In April, on a cold and rainy northern Michigan morning, he helped bring more than 100 people together for a Buy American/Build America/Universal Health Care rally at the Gaylord, Mich., courthouse.
"People from all over came together to make a statement about the importance of having a manufacturing base in America, rather than continuously shipping jobs offshore to China, Mexico and other countries, and to raise awareness about the importance of American jobs and the American way of life and the necessity of health care for all," said Henry.
One of Henry's proudest moments as a community activist came when his daughter, Stacey Wright, joined him to carry on what is now a family tradition of caring for others.
Wright, a sixth-grade teacher in the Gaylord School District, asked if she could help out with some of Henry's favorite organizations: food banks.
"So much food was donated to our distribution center that the limited number of volunteers couldn't handle the volume," he said. "So she brought her class to help bag food for [three] area food banks. That was six years ago, and they have been helping ever since."