National Nurses United wants action now

Nurses want Ebola protocols

In Chicago and across the country, nurses kicked off a national week of action demanding President Obama and the U.S. Congress take immediate steps to guarantee all hospitals and health care employers institute the highest Ebola protocols in their facilities. Photo illustration courtesy of National Nurses United

Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

Registered nurses kick off National Week of Actions mandating highest Ebola protocols

CHICAGO — Registered nurses in various cities across the country, including Chicago, kicked off a national week of action Oct. 21 demanding President Obama and the U.S. Congress take immediate steps to guarantee all hospitals and health care employers institute the highest Ebola protocols in their facilities to protect RNs, other health care workers, patients and the public.

The actions were organized by National Nurses United (NNU), the largest U.S. organization of nurses with 185,000 members.

At the Cook County Building in Chicago, nurses invited everyone to join them in signing NNU’s petition demanding the President and Congress act immediately to mandate “uniform, national standards and protocols that all hospitals must follow to safely protect patients, registered nurses, other front-line healthcare workers, and the public.”

“No matter where we are working, we are all Dallas nurses now,” said National Nurses United Co-President RN Jean Ross. “We [need to] demand the President, the Congress, and every hospital in the United States, ensure optimal protections are implemented immediately. That is how we are going to contain Ebola and protect our patients.”

For the past two months, NNU has been sounding the alarm on U.S. hospitals’ lack of preparation for Ebola. Last week, NNU held a national tele-press conference, releasing a statement by RNs that work at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, which describes the hospital’s inadequate protocols and protective equipment during the treatment of Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, who died Oct. 8.

Chicago nurses rally

Chicago nurses held a rally and press conference Oct. 21 at the Cook County Building to demand President Obama and Congress take steps to guarantee all hospitals and health care employers institute the highest Ebola protocols in their facilities to protect health care workers, patients and the public. Photo courtesy of National Nurses United

Two of the nurses who cared for Duncan are now being treated for Ebola. Despite this, hospitals across the country have been slow to ramp up their preparedness for Ebola. In an online survey conducted by NNU and filled out by 3,000 nurses from over 780 facilities in 48 states and the District of Columbia, 84 percent indicated their hospital has not provided adequate training on Ebola with the opportunity to interact, ask questions and practice putting on and taking off the proper protective equipment and in many cases has insufficient protective gear and supplies and no thorough plan in place for the treatment of Ebola patients.

It is the hospital industry’s sluggish response to the crisis that prompted NNU’s call on President Obama to mandate improved safety standards in U.S. health facilities.

“Sadly, the problems expressed by the heroic Texas Health Presbyterian RNs was predictable in our fragmented, uncoordinated private healthcare system, and it mirrors concerns we’ve heard from nurses across the U.S.,” said NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro. “Not one more patient, nurse, or health care worker should be put at risk due to a lack of health care facility preparedness,” DeMoro said in a letter to President Obama. “The United States should be setting the example on how to contain and eradicate the Ebola virus.”

Every health care employer must be directed to follow the Precautionary Principle and institute optimal protocols and personal protective equipment for Ebola that meets the highest standards used by Nebraska Medical Center, or a higher standard, including:

Full-body hazmat suits that meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) F1670 standard for blood penetration, the ASTM F1671 standard for viral penetration which, leaves no skin exposed or unprotected.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-approved powered air purifying respirators with an assigned protection factor of at least 50, or a higher standard as appropriate.

At least two direct-care registered nurses caring for each Ebola patient with additional RNs assigned as needed (based on the direct care RN’s professional judgment), with no additional patient care assignments.

Continuous interactive training with the RNs who are exposed to patients, continuous updated training and education for all RNs that is responsive to the changing nature of disease, and continuous interactive training and expertise from facilities where state-of-the-art disease containment is occurring.

If the Employer has a program with standards that exceed those used by Nebraska Medical Center, the higher standard shall be used. The Ebola pandemic and the exposure of healthcare workers to the virus represent a clear and present danger to public health. We know that without these mandates to healthcare facilities, we are putting registered nurses, physicians and other healthcare workers at extreme risk. They are our first line of defense. We would not send soldiers to the battlefield without armor and weapons.

Dissecting the problem of sin

By Dan Richardson
Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014
Email Dan Richardson at

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience — among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (Ephesians 2:1-3).”

Common sense says before you fix something, the problem must be identified. Maturity bids us to have a reasonable estimation of ourselves. Maturity causes one to avoid boasting of what he is not, and gives him the ability to evaluate his wrongdoing. The passage above uses strange words to describe a person once trapped in sin. While it might sound archaic and obsolete, consider what it means.

It talks about a path following the course of the world, the prince of the power of the air, and the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience. These paths are well worn and don’t change. Man remains greedy. He abuses others to get what he wants. His perversity is pleasure.

Sin is ancient. It only looks different from age to age. When Jesus of Nazareth called his arch enemy the “Father of Lies,” we learn the root of sin is deceit: lies about self, things, words and trust.

Sin lies about self: You are in charge of your destiny, you are your god. Man is pure matter and at death, becomes fertilizer and that is it. There is no soul, no afterlife.

Sin lies about things: Since materialism is all we are, devote your primary affections to things. Get drunk in entertainment and do not worship the one true God.

Sin lies about words: There are no inherent, absolute holy words. Jesus, the name of God, the blood of Jesus — these are relative and have no superior meaning. In disgust, say the word for excrement or the name of God, it doesn’t matter.

Sin lies about trust: trust ultimately in the goodness of your heart.

These lies represent the course of the world, the deceit of the devil, and the spirits of the sons of disobedience. They align perfectly with the passions and desires of our sinful nature. Our minds are often at sleep and even condone things God hates.

For instance, one will undermine authority when it serves her purpose. Cheating is practiced if it can be rationalized. Anyone who stands in the way of a selfish desire becomes an object of derision and anger. In terms of God’s plans for marriage and family, these are only supported for selfish reasons. When personal autonomy is restrained, the marriage is destroyed — and the family along with it. When it comes to the blessings God bestows on man, we ignore personal property and the principles of honest work for honest pay. Dishonesty is called a white lie or a half-truth. Grumbling because the gravy was cold is as old as Mt. Sinai.

A closer look at sin helps us understand the Bible’s reference to “children of wrath.” By children, it means sinners are part of a family of lawbreakers, separated from Christ, strangers to His church, ignorant of His promises, with no hope, without God. And such were some of us.

If the Bible is true, then our problem is worse than first thought. It’s not only our actions, but our entire nature must be changed. The battle is not with things we see, but things we don’t see. If we don’t see our sin in truth, we fail to see God in truth.

How does the enemy work? He blinds minds. “In their case, the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).”

Note, the light, the gospel and glory all point to Christ — and nothing else. If one can see Christ and His victory, they can share in his victory.

Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the Earth, will draw all people to Myself (John 12:31-32).” The enemy was defeated at the cross, and victory was celebrated at the resurrection. The victory is two-fold. Jesus disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame (Colossians 2:15). Next, He draws those who call upon Him for salvation.

Jesus brings those far away near to Him. He brings his child near to Him — the child doesn’t run to Him. Jesus tears down the wall of hostility; in fact he killed the power of sin and death that keeps his child away.

By faith in Jesus, a person is brought near and made a fellow citizen of God’s kingdom and member of His house. A child of God is no longer ignorant of God’s promises. He hears them preached and taught by messengers of the Gospel. The hope of the converted person is not in himself, but in the cornerstone — Jesus Christ.

Godly Heritage Quote of the Week
“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’”
—Jesus of Nazareth talks to a religious leader, recorded in the Book of John, 3:7.

Tired of not being heard, members protest

Vivify Services and Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group protest

Due to a lack of communication between union members and Vivify Services and Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group, various Cook County Building trades protest in Chicago and Northbrook over both groups employing non-union labor. Pat Barcas/staff photographer


By Pat Barcas
Staff Writer
Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014
Email Pat Barcas at: pat@foxvalley

CHICAGO — Chicago area unions want more than lip service when it comes to downtown building contracts — so they’ve taken to the streets in protest in the west loop to voice their concerns.

“So many times you’re told to do something one way — it’s not the right way, and you realize you’re just getting lip service,” said Kevin Farley, business representative for Cement Masons’ Local 502.

Farley organized a picket Oct. 8 out front of Vivify Services and Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group, 1040 W. Madison Ave. There was another picket that day in Northbrook, both followed another protest in September.

Farley said a tipping point was reached between union leaders and the real estate group, so he decided to organize and take action.

Vivify Services and Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group protest

Several building trades brought their Scabby the Rats and banners to protest non-union labor being used by Vivify Services and Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group in Chicago. With no communication by either group, building trades are hoping the protest will help them listen. Pat Barcas/staff photographer

“It’s been over a year now, we try to have conversations and get them to use union labor in these major downtown projects, but they aren’t listening,” he said. “The people building these buildings, we don’t know where their training is coming from. It’s substandard. Obviously, if they were to use union labor, we’re well trained, we get the job done right, on time. We’re reaching out to the money decision makers — give us our fair shot now. We’re just looking for that.”

Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group, co-founded by Sox and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, mainly builds luxury apartments in the West Loop. They boast expertise in multi-family development, real estate investing, land development, property management, receivership, and asset management.

“They’re squeezing the middle class here,” said Farley. “We’re the last line for the middle class. These jobs are one of the last methods left for the middle class to earn a decent wage.”

Vivify Services and Michigan Avenue Real Estate Group protest

A look down West Madison Avenue shows the solidarity of union members who are using their voice to be heard. Pat Barcas/staff photographer

Union laborers, carpenters, cement masons, roofers, plasterers, electricians, plumbers, bricklayers, sprinkler fitters and iron workers joined the downtown picket. Farley said once the inflatable rats were erected in front of the office, the blinds were closed.

“We’re just trying to get their attention,” said Farley. “Once the conversation goes stale, we’ve been opening further lines of communication, but it hasn’t been working.”

Critical minimum wage ballot question for Illinois voters

Illinois' minimum wage referendum

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, second from left, shakes hands with Sen. Dick Durbin as Rep. Bill Foster, second from right, looks on. With a minimum wage referendum on the Illinois ballot this November, all the men recently met in Aurora to discuss raising the minimum wage. Pat Barcas/staff photographer


By Pat Barcas
Staff Writer
Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014
Email Pat Barcas at: pat@foxvalley

AURORA — U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, and U.S. Rep. Bill Foster hosted a discussion Oct. 8 at Foster’s Aurora office, encouraging a national minimum wage increase to $10 per hour.

Mayor Tom Weisner, and two local minimum wage workers struggling to make ends meet financially, joined them at the press conference. There is a minimum wage referendum on the ballot in Illinois this November.

“It’s unacceptable in America, that you can get up and go to work every day, and still be living in poverty. That’s why we believe, we ought to raise the minimum wage in this country,” said Durbin.

Illinois is currently at $8.25 per hour, above the national average of $7.25 per hour.

“That’s not enough, we’ve got to move this up to at least $10 per hour,” said Durbin. “We’re encouraging voters to stick with it. Down at the bottom of the ballot, this is one of the critical questions.”

Durbin said his challenger this fall, Jim Oberweis, has one of the most “bizarre ideas in history about minimum wage.”

“He says it will be against the law to give an increase in minimum wage to anyone under the age of 26. Who would that include? Students, single moms raising kids, a lot of women, and it would include returning veterans under the age of 26. What is he thinking?” questioned Durbin. “He’s completely out of touch with the reality that people are facing today.”

Two constituents currently working minimum wage jobs joined the press conference to explain how a hike would help them in their day to day lives.

Joliet, Ill. resident Donna Dyxin

Joliet resident Donna Dyxin shares her story of financial setbacks with Sen. Dick Durbin. She earns $8.46 an hour. Pat Barcas/staff photographer

Jesse Garner of Aurora is a student who works at Home Depot and has to commute to Sugar Grove. Donna Dyxin of Joliet said she and her husband were laid off, and now struggle to support her four children.

She said she suffered financial setbacks right when getting ready to retire. Her house has been in a no default foreclosure for the last six years.

“To say that money has been tight in the recent years is an understatement,” she said. “We have tried many ways to make ends meet. I now work retail for $8.46 an hour. I call it my slave labor job.”

She said she works as many hours as possible, only up to 39 and three quarters.

“Otherwise, I would be considered full time,” she said. “A raise to even $10 would be a big boost for us. It would at least mean an extra $65 per week. That money would help us pay some of our medical costs before we get to retirement.”

Weisner said the minimum wage increase is critically important to Aurora and to the entire nation.

“I am reminded of some words from Abraham Lincoln. He talked about the idea of ‘you work the fields, you harvest the crops, but you bring the fruits of your labor to someone else.’ That is fundamentally wrong. In order for democracy to thrive, it has to recognize the inherent dignity of work,” said Weisner.

The best things is life are not earned

By Dan Richardson
Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014
Email Dan Richardson at

“For to the one who pleases Him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, but the sinner he has given the business of gathering and collecting, only to give to one who pleases God. This also is vanity and striving after the wind. (Ecclesiastes 2:26).”

In the age of materialism, people intend to expend every dime they earn on themselves and leave nothing for the next generation. Like Solomon, they say it is useless to leave things to be enjoyed by someone who didn’t work for it. Such thinking is antithetical to the Gospel.

The writer distinguishes between the sinner and one who pleases God. Yet, from a Christian view, all are sinners. (A survey of the Ten Commandments reminds us of our sin.) Despite our sin, God graciously gives all people a measure of wisdom, knowledge and joy. In addition, He gives the business of gathering and collecting so that we may enjoy the fruit of our labor.

But the best things in life won’t bring lasting joy if you can’t keep them forever. Materialism says, “I can’t do anything with this after I’m dead, so I may as well use it now.” Faith in Christ says, “The same things that bring me great joy, today I shall enjoy for eternity.” The difference is the objects of affection. A materialist finds pleasure in temporal things while the Christian finds pleasure in the Lord Jesus Christ.

You see, as far a spiritual inheritance goes, the best we get from materialism is, in essence, sin leading to death. In turn, we pass it on to generation to generation. “In sin my mother conceived me (Psalm 51).” But God offers the righteousness of Christ along with an abundance of grace. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3).” These blessings of heavenly origin are the gifts that matter: forgiveness of sins, redemption and adoption.

If you don’t agree, then see how useless a life under the sun is. Your sin will weary you to your last day. Without the saving knowledge of Christ, your best days are only in the present. So eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you die (1 Corinthians 15:32, Hebrews 10:27).

He who places his hope in the Son of God escapes the corruption of sin. Through a relationship with Jesus, he partakes in the nature of God through precious and great promises found in the Bible. He learns virtue, knowledge, self-control, faith and love. God’s children see these qualities in Jesus and seek to imitate them. These Christ-like qualities provide “an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” In other words, the road to heaven is paved by the Person of Christ (2nd Peter 1).

Since these blessings are gifts, it is true to say we didn’t work for them. It offends people to think God’s children enjoy an abundance of gifts without having to earn them. But it can be no other way. No one can earn merit from God by living a good life. Eternal life is a gift received by faith alone so that all boasting is in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The work of Christ earned riches for those who know Him. To enjoy the fruits of His labor is to say, “These riches are mine and I didn’t work for them. I must know and love Jesus above all things.”

Godly Heritage Quote of the Week
Our love is like a little pool,
Thy love is like the sea,
O Beautiful, O Wonderful –
How noble Love can be!
—Amy Carmichael, (1867 – 1951), missionary in India, (source:

Large numbers bring powerful messages to the Hill

William Hite, general president of the United Association union of plumbers, fitters, welders and HVAC service technicians

William Hite, general president of the United Association union of plumbers, fitters, welders and HVAC service technicians, welcomed union leaders Oct. 7 to the annual Tripartite Conference in Mokena. Pat Barcas/staff photographer


By Pat Barcas
Staff Writer
Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014
Email Pat Barcas at: pat@foxvalley

MOKENA — William Hite, general president of the United Association union of plumbers, fitters, welders and HVAC service technicians spoke at the seventh annual Tripartite Conference in Mokena Oct 7.

The conference focuses on the relationship between the union, owners and contractors. Hite said it’s important for unions to remain non-partisan and focus on who can bring in jobs for members.

“It’s important to all of us to get together, and be on the same page. We’re a lot alike, we’ve got a big political season ahead of us, and when it comes to politics, everyone in this room shares the same agenda — the union, the contractors, the owners — we support politicians who support energy and who support jobs in the industry that we all work in,” he said.

When the union teams up with owners and contractors to get things done in Washington, it’s a very successful formula, said Hite

“I’ve never lived in a time where politics is so critical to getting our agenda done. We meet a lot on Capital Hill, we go in with contractors, we go in with owners, and it’s a very effective tool,” he said. “Because when these politicians see that we’re all together on a certain issue, it sends a real powerful message to Washington.”

The union currently has 35,000 apprentices throughout the United States and Canada, which is down due to the recession. Hite said he pushes for a 20 percent ratio of working journeymen to apprentices.

“Training is the key to the future. It’s the cornerstone of the United Association. We were the first union to have a Bureau of Apprenticeship Training. The backbone of this organization is our apprenticeship.”

UA Tripartite Conference.

Union leaders turned out Oct. 7 for the UA Tripartite Conference. UA General President William Hite said fabrication is critical to the union and sees large growth in the industrial arena, specifically in the gulf coast, where expansion is happening. Pat Barcas/staff photographer

Hite said fabrication is critical to the union.

“We do over 35 million man hours per year in fabrication, we have 570 signatory fabricators, and we push fabrication, we stay on top of it. It’s going to be a big thing in the future,” he said.

Hite says he sees big growth in the industrial arena moving forward, specifically in the gulf coast, where expansion is happening.
“The gulf coast is going to be going crazy. There’s billions and billions worth of work down there. We are going to have to work like hell to man that work. It’s a major focus,” he said.

Marketing is key to a modern union, said Hite. Getting the message out on what exactly the union does is critical.

UA's Bureau of Apprenticeship Training.

The UA was the first union to have a Bureau of Apprenticeship Training. Pat Barcas/staff photographer

“Twenty years ago, if you would have thought about marketing a union, everybody would have thought you were nuts. A lot of people have a bad idea about what unions stand for. Nothing could be further from the truth. This union is focused on doing a job. On earning a good wage, and doing the job right the first time,” he said.

“That’s what we’re focused on. We’re your neighbors, we’re the people who live in the community. We’re not a bunch of bad guys, not a bunch of thugs, that’s not what we’re about. We’re about doing it right and making a difference out there in the community, and providing the big manpower to complete projects,” he said.

Esther Lopez’s dedication to labor workers is honored

UFCW International Vice President Esther Lopez

UFCW International Vice President Esther Lopez was selected as the 2014 recipient of the Charlie Hayes Leadership Award due to her on-going support of working men and women. Photo courtesy of Greg Rodil

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley

CHICAGO — Even though she’s the vice president of an international union, Esther Lopez has a soft spot in her heart for the Windy City.

“It is here where I have stood on so many shoulders. Here in Chicago is where I have learned about working together with little engines that do,” said Lopez, the UFCW International Vice President and Director of the Civil Rights and Community Action Department.

She was honored by Chicago Jobs with Justice Oct. 2 at Workers United with the 2014 Charlie Hayes Leadership Award. The award is named in honor of Hayes’ contributions to making life better for working men and women.

Chicago Federation of Labor President Jorge Ramirez called Lopez mission-driven and focused when it comes to protecting families and communities.

“For someone to do so much for so many — and do it in a way that is selfless, that is very rare,” Ramirez said. “Charlie Hayes was a person who believed in lifting other people up. He was a great man and it’s a great award to be named after. This night all comes together because I don’t know someone who embodies that spirit more than Esther.”

When work sends her traveling around the country, she often thinks of the working men and women in Chicago who understand what it means to fight together, and being together is what is going to get Democrats elected Nov. 4.

“We cannot be lulled by the perfume of excess. We have to see some action. We are in real deep fights and we need to understand that,” Lopez warned.

She recalled a Black Friday rally at a Wal-Mart in Albuquerque, N.M. last year where a family of seven, led by the grandfather, approached Lopez. She was concerned they might want to argue, so she was preparing for the worst.

“He said, ‘thank you for giving us another way to celebrate Thanksgiving.’ It was amazing. You guys are changing the narrative in this country about what we should be celebrating and whom we should celebrate,” Lopez said.

USS Illinois being built with local ties involved

The USS Illinois (SSN 786)

The USS Illinois (SSN 786), a Virginia-class submarine, is a nuclear-powered, next-generation attack submarine. It will join the Navy’s fleet in 2016. For its commissioning, a $1,000 check was recently made in memory of Sen. Bob Mitchler. It will be the second ship named after the state. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014
Email Jennifer Rice at

MONTGOMERY — The members of the Navy League of the United States, Aurora Council, broke the first rule of the Navy — it volunteered, and now it is helping with the commissioning of Illinois’ newest namesake ship, the USS Illinois (SNN 786).

At a recent Fox Valley Veterans Breakfast Club it received its first donation — a $1,000 check from the breakfast club in memory of Sen. Robert “Bob” Mitchler. He was a long-time member of both the breakfast club and the Aurora Council Navy League. Mitchler passed away in 2012 at the age of 91.

USS Illinois Commissioning Committee Chairman Capt. USN (Ret.) Len Wass accepted the donation from Breakfast Club President Herschel Luckinbill, and Treasurer Wayne Johnson. He also explained how the Aurora Navy League has taken the lead on designating support of the USS Illinois with events associated with the launching, commissioning, and post-commissioning support of the ship and crew.

“The ship has its entire crew right now. It’s a fine, young crew — just like we are were a couple of years back,” said Wass, which brought laughs from the mostly senior group of attendees at the breakfast club.

The USS Illinois, a Virginia-class submarine, is a nuclear-powered, next-generation attack submarine designed for deep ocean warfare and shallow water operations. It will join the Navy’s fleet in 2015. It will cost about $2.7 billion.

Mitchler’s wife Helen has retired from their Oswego home to Gurnee. She was pleasantly surprised to hear the breakfast club chose to give the USS Illinois commissioning committee its first donation in her husband’s memory.

“Bob was a part of so many things. His whole life was spent helping organizations, getting things started and keeping them going,” Helen explained. “He was just non-stop, — that was his life.”

USS Illinois Commissioning Committee Chairman Capt. USN (Ret.) Len Wass.

Fox Valley Veterans Breakfast Club President Herschel Luckinbill, left, and Treasurer Wayne Johnson, right, present a $1,000 check from the club to USS Illinois Commissioning Committee Chairman Capt. USN (Ret.) Len Wass. The donation was made in memory of Sen. Bob Mitchler, a long-time member of both the breakfast club and Aurora Council Navy League. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Illinois is being recognized with the submarine because of the Recruit Training Command at Naval Station Great Lakes in Lake County. Every enlisted sailor in the Navy begins his or her career there.

Mitchler’s son, John, recalled a time in 1993 when his father wanted the Aurora Council Navy League to participate in the commissioning of the USS Springfield (SSN-761). Only Springfield, Mass. was taking on a lot of the commissioning committees. Not to be left out, the elder Mitchler decided to buy the captain’s china.

“The way I remember it, Massachusetts threw the commissioning party, and there was an announcement made that Springfield, Illinois bought the captain’s china, and that kind of took the wind out the Massachusetts committees’ sail,” he said with a laugh.

“It’s really cool they are still honoring my dad. It would mean a lot to him,” he added.

Unfledged faith in God helped USS Indy survivor

Edgar Harrell USMC

Edgar Harrell USMC is one of two Marine survivors that was aboard the USS Indianapolis (CA-35). He is one of 35 survivors still alive. When asked, he travelers the country to tell his miraculous tale of survival and the Providence of God. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014
Email Jennifer Rice at

To view Edgar Harrell’s speech, visit Fox Valley Labor News YouTube Channel

WHEATON — In 1945, minutes after the USS Indianapolis was struck by two Japanese torpedoes, blowing the front end of the ship clear off, a 20-year-old Edgar Harrell stood on the high side of the ship, hanging onto a steel rail and had a moment of clarity, which calmed his fear of the unknown.

Faced with the realization he might be face-to-face with his morality, he cried out to God, “I don’t wanna die!”

“May I say, there are times when you pray, and then there are times when you PRAY! and there’s a difference,” Harrell said.

He retold his miraculous story of survival Oct. 3 at the College Church in Wheaton to a packed house.

“I told God, ‘If you allow me to live, I’ll live for you.’ I don’t wanna die,” he recalled.
In that moment, he thought of his parents and eight younger brothers and sisters he left behind in Tennessee. Also, there a certain brunette he was sweet on who said she would wait for him.

“And she waited for me. We were married in ‘47 and this past July 25 was our 67th wedding anniversary,” he said to applause.

Karen King

Karen King came from Iowa for the opportunity to meet with Edgar Harrell and to ask if he remembered her father – sailor Robert Harold King, who was killed on the USS Indianapolis. She was four-months-old when she lost her father. With 1,197 aboard, he said he did not remember her father. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Harrell believes the Providence of God and said he felt a peace envelope him and he knew then that God had answered his prayers and He would see Harrell through his ordeal.

But even Harrell could not imagine what awaited him. Of the 1,197 aboard, some 900 made it into the water, leaving some 300 trapped and unable to abandon ship. For the next 4 1/2 days, the men of the Indy, lost at sea, would experience dehydration, hypothermia, and mass hallucination after drinking salt water, all the while swimming in shark-infested waters. Only 317 would survive.

The Indy was on a mission to deliver the components of the two atomic bombs that wold be dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. They didn’t know what was aboard the ship, but Harrell was in charge of keeping men guarding the large crate.

He refused to drink the salt water, gave encouragement to others and found a crate of rotten potatoes for himself and others to eat.
He did every thing a Christian man could and should do, and lives to tell his tale to others.

The littleness of life under the sun

By Dan Richardson
Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014
Email Dan Richardson at

“Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 1: 1b-2).”

You can find everything the world desires is wrapped up in a person named Solomon. He had wealth, wisdom, sex and the honor of nations. His access to fun and thrills was unlimited. The numbers are extreme.

For example, he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Inspired Scripture notes these embarrassing details of “Bible Heroes” to show that seeking pleasure outside of God’s design inevitably leads to corruption.

Entertainment is supposed to be a blessing; but what has it turned into? God gives us what we want, hundreds of channels into our home, and we aren’t any more happy than before. In fact, the more we seek contentment in things apart from the true God, the more cynical and hopeless we become.

That was Solomon’s problem. Imagine living in his country. Your king is supposed to be copying and reading God’s word and instead, he is bowing to idols. Strange; but it is not too strange, is it? Aren’t we much like Solomon? Many things draw us away from God. We place our trust in retirement, government and self-empowerment.

When calamity hits close to home, we are left saying, “It is what it is. Nothing matters. In the end, all prevention and planning doesn’t mean a thing.”

A grandeur “life under the sun” perspective has little meaning. Yet, beyond our little life under the sun there is true substance and hope.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly (John 10:10).” What kind of things does Jesus offer?

His forgiveness and righteousness are the two things we need for lasting satisfaction. Jesus calls us to forsake our idols and receive Him as Lord and Savior. Those who place trust in Him see life beyond the sun. They see Christ at the right hand of God praying for them, angels rejoicing, a table and a home. These are eternal realities.

When calamity hits, the saying “whatever” is replaced with confident prayer. Hope is grounded in Christ who said, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”

Godly Heritage Quote of the Week
“Love of my heart, my steam runs dry,
O Fountain of the heavenly hills,
Love, blessed Love, to Thee I cry,
Flood all my secret hidden rills.
Waters of love, come, pour through me;
I must have love, I must have Thee.”
—Amy Carmichael, (1867-1951), missionary in India, (source: