Fight for $15 joining Trump protest

Bolingbrook protest against Donald Trump

A protest against Donald Trump in Bolingbrook was rescheduled from Sept. 19 to Sept. 28. The protest will show Republican presidential nominee Trump he is not wanted in Bolingbrook when he holds a fundraiser at the Bolingbrook Golf Club. Suburban Families Against Hate will join with Fight for $15 Chicago for the protest from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Photo illustration by Jennifer Rice

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley

BOLINGBROOK — Donald’s Trump Bolingbrook fundraiser has been rescheduled for the second time, which will now take place Wednesday, Sept. 28.

Trump’s fundraiser and accompanying Dump Trump protest was to have happened Monday, Sept. 19. (Which was pushed back from its original Sept. 12 date.) At Monday’s Sept. 19 protest, Chicago’s Fight for $15 was expected to join Suburban Families Against Hate against the Republican presidential nominee.

Trump’s fundraiser will take place at the Bolingbrook Golf Club, 2001 Rodeo Dr. The protest will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Fight for $15 was going to have buses traveling from Chicago to Bolingbrook to protest against Trump’s anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-minimum wage and anti-woman stance.

Tickets for Trump’s fundraiser are going as high as $250,000. For that, you get a photo op and a seat at a VIP table.

Bolingbrook protest against Donald Trump

Fight for $15 Chicago was set to send buses from Chicago to the western suburb of Bolingbrook Sept. 19 to join Suburban Families Against Hate’s protest of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s fundraiser at the Bolingbrook Golf Club. The fundraiser has been rescheduled for Sept. 28. Photo courtesy of Fight for $15 Chicago

A petition to keep Trump out of Bolingbrook was created by Suburban Families Against Hate, stating, “Trump does not represent the interests nor the values of families in the suburban community of Bolingbrook.

“It is an insult to invite a billionaire to raise funds in a middle-class, hard working, vibrant, and diverse community.”


On the petition, Bolingbrook resident Michael Manolakes said Trump’s rhetoric incites violence.

“Donald Trump is a man who regularly uses rhetoric that incites violence at his rallies, and he condones violence by his supporters against dissenters,” Manolakes said.



“I do not wish to have him speak at a facility built and maintained by my tax dollars,” he added.

According to Suburban Families Against Hate, it sent petitions to Bolingbrook Mayor Roger Claar asking him to cancel the fundraiser, indicating it should not be held at a place supported by village taxes as it “insults our diverse Bolingbrook community.”

Protesters are expected to park on the streets in the nearby South Gate Park Subdivision on Madison Boulevard, east of the Bolingbrook Fire Station.

There also is parking south of the golf course, at Crossroads of Faith United Methodist Church, 1570 Rodeo Dr. No signs can be posted in the church parking lot.

IUPAT Community Day of Action

PDC 30_color

Fox Valley Labor News
staff reports
Thursday, April 21, 2016

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades annual Community Day of Action takes a day to give back

AURORA — International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) members across the U.S. and Canada worked on projects April 16 to better their communities as a part of their annual IUPAT Community Day of Action.

In Aurora, members of Painters District Council 30 members painted the interior of three apartment unions in the 300 block of West New York Street in Aurora.

 Community Day of Action

Members of Painters District Council 30 worked April 16 painting the interior of three apartment unions in the 300 block of West New York Street in Aurora. Photo courtesy of Painters District Council 30

Although the IUPAT has a long tradition of community service, the goal of the Community Day of Action was to come together as one union, on one day, to make a difference in the many communities in which IUPAT members live and work.

The result was a great success as thousands of volunteers renovated shelters, community centers, youth athletic fields, and low income housing, and spearheaded food drives across North America. IUPAT groups also held educational forums on immigration, and workers’ rights on the job regarding wages and benefits.

“Today was a great day,” said IUPAT General President Kenneth Rigmaiden in Baltimore after lending a hand in cleaning and painting in a local neighborhood. “I was proud to see and hear about IUPAT and community volunteers coming together and working as one across the U.S. and Canada to make a difference in our communities. There’s more work to be done, but I think we’ve made it clear we are up to the task, and we are looking forward to being an agent of change within our communities.”

Union members are more than advocates for fair wages, rights and benefits on the job. They are good neighbors in their communities. The IUPAT Community Day of Action is yet one more example of how organized labor is a positive force for working families — both union and non-union.

With hundreds of buckets of paint now empty, an abundance of windows replaced and repaired, dozens of neighborhoods and fields free of trash while sporting a new shine, and IUPAT neighbors now armed with the resources to start a new career in the Trades with full knowledge of their rights in the workplace, the members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and the Community Day of Action proved that powerful and lasting changes can be made in just one day when different groups unite to work together.

Aurora mayor recommends Cmd. Kristen Ziman as next police chief

Aurora Police Department Cmd. Kristen Ziman

Aurora Police Department Cmd. Kristen Ziman

Fox Valley Labor News staff reports
Friday, Jan. 8

AURORA – After an extensive process that included surveys, presentations and multiple interviews, Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner made his recommendation from among four internal candidates.

“I’m very pleased to recommend Kristen as our next chief,” Weisner said during a press conference Thursday, Jan. 7. “Becoming Aurora’s first female police chief is not the only way she has been a trailblazer and I’m confident that her considerable talent will lead the department to new heights.”

Born and raised in Aurora, Commander Ziman has worked her way through the ranks during her nearly 25 year career with the Aurora Police Department, beginning as a police cadet in 1991.

“I am both excited and grateful beyond belief to serve the men and women of the Aurora Police Department and the citizens of this community” she said. “I do not take this responsibility lightly and will work tirelessly and energetically to build upon the legacy of this professional organization.”

A graduate of West Aurora High School, Ziman served three years as an Aurora Police cadet before becoming a sworn officer in 1994. She worked in patrol, field training, community policing and investigations as a domestic violence detective before being promoted to sergeant in 2003. She was promoted to lieutenant in 2008 and to commander in 2010.

Commander Ziman earned her Associate’s Degree from Waubonsee Community College, Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Aurora University and Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice Management from Boston University. In addition, she is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and completed the Kellogg Women’s Senior Leadership Program at Northwestern University, Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and the Senior Management Institute for Police.

Commander Ziman lives in Aurora with her spouse, Chris, and their children Megan, Jimmy, Bailey and Jacob.

Mayor Weisner’s recommendation will be considered by the City Council Tuesday, Jan. 12. If approved, she will begin as the new Aurora Police Chief immediately, making her the first female chief in the department’s history and the 28th chief in the history of the department.

Ziman has been “the first” in a number of positions throughout her career and has worked diligently to mentor other women in law enforcement locally and nationally. She is the Past President of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE).

“The short term goal is to build a Command Staff of individuals who will bring talent, expertise, and diversity of thought to the position. Once we have the decision-makers in place, we are going move immediately to action by identifying systems and processes that need to be created or improved upon”, Ziman said. “The long term goals are to be even more engaged with the citizens we serve and to continue to work tirelessly to make this community a safe place to live, work and play. In doing so, we will continue our efforts to reduce crime while protecting with vigilance and serving with compassion.”

The recommendation for Chief will be considered by the City Council Tuesday, Jan. 12 at a Special Committee of the Whole Meeting at 5 p.m., followed immediately by a meet and greet for the public on the fifth floor of City Hall, 44 E. Downer Place. At 6 p.m,. the City Council will convene for their regularly scheduled meeting, where they will vote on the Mayor’s recommendation for Chief of Police.
-City of Aurora/Aurora Police Department

No end in sight for state’s budget impasse

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley

AURORA — Illinois’ budget impasse could have long-lasting consequences on its most vulnerable residents as a number of government vendors haven’t been paid for their services since the fiscal year began on July 1.

Sen. Linda Holmes has had conversations with parents who need help from the state caring for their mentally disabled child and parents who need to put their children in day care — but there is no assistance to help them. “The only thing moving are court-ordered mandates for human services,” Holmes explained.

Vouchers were issued for community bases services only after a U.S. District Judge ordered it after attorneys for the people with disabilities asked the judge to hold state officials in contempt of court.

As a legislature, Sen. Linda Holmes said it’s frustrating to take no action on the state’s budget, especially when she has people suffering in her districts. “I sincerely care about what I do. I really care about the people of my district.” Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

“These are issues that literally, keep me awake at night. I have never worried this much about my budget. This is a huge crisis and unfortunately, I don’t see an end to it,” she said.

Holmes spoke to supporters Oct. 1 at a fundraiser at Hopvine in Aurora, which consisted mostly of union members and organized labor supporters.

With the budget at an impasse and nothing moving, Holmes understands municipalities and schools in her district are kept wondering what is going on, and more importantly, when is it going to change?

“We don’t know what is going to happen — and I hate telling you that because typically, in my job, it’s about fostering an ability to work together — to work across the aisle and come up with solutions that work for everybody. Unfortunately, we’re seeing things at the biggest standstill I’ve ever seen in my entire life. And it’s very discouraging,” she explained.

Legislatures are not expected back to Springfield until Oct. 20 — but when she returns, Holmes promises to continue to be an outspoken advocate.

Effects of the current budget crisis:

  • State employees are paying for medical care out-of-pocket.
  • Fewer parents can send their children to day care.
  • Low-income families have lost their energy assistance.
  • More than 100 state workers could soon be laid off.

North Aurora looks to fill 3 seats on its board

North Aurora trustee Mark Guethle

North Aurora trustee Mark Guethle is running to retain his seat on the North Aurora Village Board in the upcoming April 7 election. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley

NORTH AURORA — Current village trustee Mark Guethle is looking to retain his seat on the North Aurora Village board — but he’s not alone. Four other candidates are running, with only three seats available. Running on the April 7 ballot along with Guethle are incumbents Laura Curtis and Mark Carroll, along with Anise Hesson and Alan Cavender. Each seat is a four-year term.

Guethle was a trustee from 2003 to 2005, and 2009 to the present. Carroll was appointed to the board in May 2014 to replace Ryan Lambert, who quit when he became chief of the North Aurora and Countryside Fire Protection District. Lambert’s term expires this year. Curtis is in her first term as trustee.

Friends and family gathered Jan. 15 to support Guethle at his fundraiser, held at Oak Street Restaurant.

He explained North Aurora is growing. Last year, it acquired 22 new businesses, including Massage Envy, BP Gas Station and a Dunkin’ Donuts. A Marriot Fairfield Inn & Suites is coming to the west side of North Aurora.

“This has happened with the hard work and effort of our board, the mayor and our staff working collectively for the good of our town,” Guethle said.

Village President Dale Berman said Guethle always, “gives it hell,” and expects nothing less from him this election.

North Aurora Village Trustee Mark Guethle. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

From left, Aurora Township Supervisor Bill Catching and North Aurora Village President Dale Berman show their support for village trustee Mark Guethle. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

“He’s a tiger. He never quits. I’m proud to have him on our village board and for him to continue to do great things for the village of North Aurora,” Berman said.

The village has a pro-business climate, which has led to four straight years of economic sales growth, and a $3 million surplus from last year.

As Director of Painters District Council 30’s Governmental Affairs, Guethle acknowledged fellow union members who attended his fundraiser. He was proud to announce that photographs of completed projects used on his campaign literature were union projects that came in, “on time and under budget.”

As a 15-year resident of North Aurora, Guethle and his wife Louise are active in the North Aurora Lions Club, North Aurora Days and the Blessed Sacrament Church.

“I feel it’s important to stand up for our community, and that’s what I’m doing. You learn by listening to people,” Guethle said.

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.

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.

What you need to know about ballot initiatives

Pat Barcas/staff photographer
When voting this November, you’ll need to pay close attention to questions on your ballot, which concern the state constitution and General Assembly advisory question. Common Cause Illinois Executive Director Rey López-Calderón, right, said for the first time ever, Illinois will allow election day voter registration.

By Pat Barcas
Staff writer
Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014
Email Pat Barcas at

DOWNERS GROVE — The Nov. 4 ballot holds two questions that will impact the state constitution, and three more questions that are advisory to the General Assembly.

The League of Women Voters of Downers Grove, Woodridge and Lisle held an informational session Sept. 17 designed to educate voters on how these ballot questions will impact them, and what exactly they mean.

“I don’t think there is ever a more important time to educate yourself,” said Robert Saar, executive director of the DuPage County Election Commission. Saar was joined by panelist Rey López-Calderón, executive director of Common Cause Illinois.

Saar has been working with the Election Commission for more than 30 years.

“Back in 1981, nothing ever changed. We used to print the same voting guide year after year. At this current time, it’s getting difficult for a voter to stay informed about what’s on the ballot,” he said. “It’s quite a year for election law legislation.”

The two constitutional amendments must be voted on by a majority for the amendment to pass. On the ballot are the right to vote amendment, and the crime victims’ bill of rights.

The right to vote says that no person shall be denied the right to vote based on race, ethnicity, language, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or income.

The crime victims’ bill of rights is a little more complicated — it has additions to the existing constitutional rights such as the right to be free from harassment, to have a hearing before a court ruling on access to the victims’ records, the get timely notification of all court proceedings, and to have the safety of the victim or their family considered in denying or fixing bail, release dates and conditions of release.

According to the League, the current constitution may provide adequate protection for crime victims. The amendment is lengthy, and it is unclear how it will affect due process.

Three advisory issues will be on the ballot: A statewide minimum wage increase to $10 per hour, a vote to have any prescription drug coverage being required to cover prescription birth control, and a three percent tax on individuals whose income exceeds one million dollars, to be used on schools.

For the first time ever, Illinois will allow election day voter registration.

“There was a lot of lobbying behind the scenes to get that through,” said López-Calderón. “We’re looking at other places to add value to voting right now.”

He said negative attack ads are designed just to keep voters at home.

“People do stay home. It turns them off when they see both candidates in a bad light. That’s what negative ads do,” he said.

Local 701 mechanics holding strong during strike

Mechanics Local 701 strike
Pat Barcas/staff photographer
This week marks the ninth week striking IAMAW Local 701 union members have been walking the line outside the Al Piemonte Chevrolet dealership in East Dundee. They are fighting for their health insurance and pension.

By Pat Barcas
Staff writer
Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014
Email Pat Barcas at

EAST DUNDEE — “It’s gotten ugly out here,” said Bill LePinske, Mechanics Local 701 business representative as he walked the picket line Sept. 5 during a support rally at Al Piemonte Chevrolet in East Dundee.

Nine mechanics walked off the job July 9, and this week, the strikers entered their ninth week walking the line in front of the store. They held a solidarity rally to raise spirits of those on the picket line.

LePinske said all the men want is the standard automotive agreement contract, something which mechanics at the other Piemonte group stores enjoy, as well as about 150 other automotive repair shops in the Chicago area.

Mechanics Local 701 strike
Pat Barcas/staff photographer
Mechanics Local 701 Business Representative Bill LePinske lifts the spirits of striking union members Sept. 5 outside the Al Piemonte Chevrolet dealership in East Dundee.

The mechanics at the Chevrolet store, 770 Dundee Ave., voted 7-2 in early May in favor of joining the union, but the store owners balked, offering half the insurance co-pay coverage and pension that their other stores have in their contract.

“I think they just don’t want this store to be union,” said LePinske.

He also claims the owners are fighting the mechanics on classification. For example, men that were doing head gasket changes and other advanced repairs before unionization are now relegated to oil change duty, making less money. Federal mediation on the matter was declined by the store owners, and no negotiations have gone forward since the strike.

LePinske said the strike line has had some issues, and now security guards patrol the perimeter of both entrances.

“A salesman punched one of our guys, and after we heckled a customer, he said he was going to go home and get his 9 mm,” he said. “Everybody’s got to learn to get along.”

Mechanics Local 701 strike
Pat Barcas/staff photographer
All IAMAW Local 701 members want is just the standard automotive agreement contract, something mechanics at other Piemonte group stores enjoy.

A restraining order against the union members was filed to make sure they stay on the public easement in front of the car dealership.

“The most discouraging thing is, they’re lying to customers,” said Chris Kujawa, a mechanic who has worked at the store nearly four years. “They’re telling customers we want more than the standard agreement, something we were never even offered. They offer that, and this is over with. The customers want to believe they are not hurting us by shopping there. They are hurting us.”

He said he and the other mechanics don’t want to return to work without union representation.

“There’s no trust there. Our biggest enemy is customer ignorance. We need to overcome that,” said Kujawa.

Patching roofs and patching hearts of foster children

National Roofing Week
Pat Barcas/staff photographer
As part of National Roofing Week, July 6 to 12, several roofing companies came together to donate their time/supplies to make repairs on the roof of the Lydia Home Association in Chicago, a foster care home that houses about 50 youth.

By Pat Barcas
Staff writer
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Email Pat Barcas at

CHICAGO — It was a little rainy, but at least it wasn’t sweltering hot on the roof of the Lydia Home Association in Chicago July 8. As part of National Roofing Week, July 6-12, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) gathered volunteers to repair the aging roof of the facility for abused children.

“This roof was definitely on borrowed time,” said Rod Petrick, owner of Ridgeworth Roofing Co. His company helped out on the rehab of the roof.

“It could probably use a full replacement in the future, but this is a typical Chicago roof, it might have six or eight layers on it. It’s definitely not a one day job,” Petrick added.

The roofers battled rain and clouds, but succeeded in patching up the rough spots of the roof. Four companies participated in the charity project: Ridgeworth Roofing, Nations Roof, Bennett and Brousseau Roofing, and Karnak Roofing Products donated the supplies.

The Lydia Home Association is dedicated to helping troubled children and their families with a variety of services, including housing for at-risk children. The facility has been located off Irving Park Road for about 100 years, and was an orphanage that turned into foster care that houses about 50 youth at a time, from first grade to high school age.

National Roofing Week
Pat Barcas/staff photographer
During National Roofing Week, a Nations Roof employee seals the gaps around a roof vent pipe atop the Lydia Home Association building.

Dr. David Anderson, executive director of the Lydia Home, said a main goal of the home is to acclimate troubled youth for their next phase of life. He comes from a background as a bricklayer, and said the trades are invaluable for the kids.

“Most kids go into the trades. They can be invaluably helpful to the kids and we find great success there,” he said during a tour of the home to NRCA executives, who are in Chicago this week for the annual mid-summer meeting.

Anderson transitioned from bricklayer to psychologist, and started as a teacher at the home, which has an $8 million per year operating budget. It relies on some state funding, but is tuition-based.

He recalled a session in a classroom setting where students were talking about gunshots.

“About 75 percent of the class had been shot. Kids were showing off bullet wounds. This is major trauma, and it’s definitely an interesting group of kids. They have nowhere else to go, and we all have the capacity to give back and help them,” he said.

With the rainy summer, patching up the old roof couldn’t have come at a better time, according to Jim Whitfield, national director of operations for Safe Families for Children, an organization that operates in the Lydia Home, and which acts as a safety net for families in crisis.

“Our budget every year is ‘just enough.’ We don’t have enough for major fixes like this. We had a few offices where there was seepage coming through the roof already, and this was just a really opportune time for them to come out and help us. We really appreciate it,” said Whitfield.”