Labor scholarship sends student to the Golden State

Jimmy Tunney

Jimmy Tunney was awarded a $2,500 scholarship made possible by the Woodruff Johnson & Palermo Labor Scholarship. He is attending Marymount California University to study accounting and law. Tunney is pictured with his mother Chris, far right, her partner, Kristen Ziman, and attorneys, from left, Dexter Evans, Mario Palermo and Jay Johnson. Jennifer Rice/staff photographer

Jennifer Rice Managing Editor

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015
Email Jennifer Rice at: jen@foxvalley
labornews.com

AURORA — California, baseball, accounting and law don’t sound like they mix well together, but college freshman Jimmy Tunney is going to make it work.

Tunney is starting out his college career 2,000 miles away in the Golden State (the California part) at Marymount California University, where the southpaw (the baseball part) will be playing for the Mariners. His lifelong passion for baseball and math (the accounting part) is driving him towards a career of writing sports contracts (the law part) for his future clients.

In an essay submitted to the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley for scholarship opportunities, Tunney said he always, “had a plan for life and I knew that baseball and law school would be a part of it.”

With his essay, he was awarded a $2,500 scholarship made possible by the Woodruff Johnson & Palermo Labor Scholarship. (Woodruff Johnson & Palermo was not involved in the selection process for scholarship recipients.) The injury law firm created the scholarship in 2012 to give back to organized labor and to the Fox Valley community — which has helped make the firm the largest injury law firm in the greater Fox Valley area.

college logo_web

Because the scholarship is a labor-minded scholarship, in order to be considered, one of the criteria was Tunney had to have a parent who is a union member. Tunney’s mother Chris is member of the Aurora Association of Professional Police Officers. As an Aurora Police Department (APD) investigator, she is part of a task force, which investigates allegations of child sexual abuse.

“Unfortunately, we are always busy. Each one of us juggles 30 to 40 case loads at a time,” she explained. With a Masters in child psychology abuse and neglect and juvenile delinquency, Chris said she loves the “naughty kids.”

“I love the kids that get in trouble, because that was me when I was younger. I seem to understand them better,” she added.

After his graduation from West Aurora High School, Jimmy, 18, was accepted to several colleges, but the warm weather of California beckoned him. Due to its prestigious accounting school, a strong runner up was the University of Illinois. Chris’ partner APD Cmmd. Kristen Ziman explained Jimmy was torn between the decision to play baseball (which wasn’t an option at U of I), and that was where his passion lies.

“Jim was never a child we worried about. We know he’d made the right decision,” Ziman said.

Labor scholarship helps send student to Drake University

Woodruff Johnson & Palermo Labor Scholarship
Jennifer Rice/staff photographer
Mitch Feltz was awarded a $2,500 scholarship made possible by the Woodruff Johnson & Palermo Labor Scholarship. He is attending Drake University to study journalism. Feltz is pictured with his mother Lisa, and attorneys Jay Johnson, left, and Casey Woodruff, right.

By Jennifer Rice
Managing Editor
Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014
Email Jennifer Rice at jen@foxvalleylabornews.com

AURORA — Coming from a working class family, Mitchell Feltz (Mitch to his friends) understands and appreciates the value of hard work — something his father Dale exemplifies as a member of Teamsters Local 673.

And because Dale is a union member in the Fox Valley, his son was able to apply for, and be awarded, a $2,500 Woodruff Johnson & Palermo Labor Scholarship. (The law firm was not involved in the selection process for scholarship recipients.)

The injury law firm created the scholarship in 2012 to give back to organized labor and to the Fox Valley community — which has helped make the firm the largest injury law firm in the greater Fox Valley area.
Because the scholarship is a labor-minded scholarship, in order to be considered, one of the criteria was Mitch had to have a parent who is a union member.

Dale hasn’t known anything other than working in a union. In his younger years, he worked at Barber-Greene in Aurora, then quickly moved to Caterpillar. In 1988 he started with Colonial Bread and with the Teamsters. The company is now called Cement Transport Company, which is owned by Kennedy Trucking, and it’s keeping him very busy.

“With all the cement paving going on I-90, I’m driving all the time,” he explained. He’s “100 percent for union,” because they help blue-collar workers. And now being in a union is helping his son, Mitch.

The younger Feltz started classes at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa Aug. 25. He wants to study journalism. Even though it may be 300 miles from his hometown of Bristol, he’s got lots of friends already there, and those friends are upperclassmen from Marmion Academy.

In his junior year at Marmion, an upperclassman talked of going to Drake. “He had great things to say about Drake,” Mitch explained.

An overnight orientation at Drake sealed the deal for him. “It was a really neat experience. I had a freshman take me around the campus and I got a wonderful perspective from students who have already been there,” Mitch said.

During his journey to find the right college for him, Mitch also looked at other colleges like Marquette and Loyola, but Drake overruled them all.

Mitch’s mom Lisa also like Marquette, due to its closeness to home, but she stressed it was a choice her son had to make.

“He had to make this commitment and with that comes tuition. He knew he had to strive to get some scholarships because we can’t financially help him fully with college,” Lisa added.

Mitch said he was “relieved and overjoyed” to hear he was the recipient of the Woodruff Johnson & Palermo Labor Scholarship.

Attorney Casey Woodruff said the law firm is always excited to learn who the recipient is. “We’re always pleased to see the benefits of being a union member.”

Even though Mitch played football and ran track at Marmion, he won’t be pursuing sports at Drake, but you’ll be sure to find him on some intramural leagues at college.