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The members of UAW Local 1219 at Ford Motor Co's. Lima (Ohio) Engine plant could write a book about creative fund raising.
Last year the local raised $6,000 for its wheelchair ramp building program. Ford matched the amount, but this year, due to financial cutbacks, the company didn't contribute. And the fund shortfall threatened to end the local's longtime program.
So the local called on the community, and they returned the favor.
"It's a pretty amazing thing to see how these people are helped in the community. And you see the connection in the community keep building and spreading out," said Local 1219 President Dave Rabe. "This business of doing good becomes contagious."
Susan Zink, whose late husband, Ralph, was a Local 1219 member, was deemed Guardian Angel of this year's program after she donated a 409-pound hog for a plant pig roast. They netted $2,661 in donations. It wasn't the first contribution for Zink, who had previously made two $805 contributions.
The wheelchair ramp project began 17 years ago. Now the volunteer labor is done almost entirely by groups of UAW hourly retirees, along with additional help from some Ford salaried workers. More than 400 ramps have been erected in the surrounding Lima community.
Why is this program so important to the local?
"Because it's important to the community, that's why," Rabe said.