Local 108 Launches “Operation Rehydrate”

When one of Dustin Elliott’s five children brought home a letter from school earlier this year saying that many kids were going without water during the school day, he and his wife Chelsea sprang to action to find a solution.   

Ryan Green, President of Local 108 Anderson Water Dept. (on left), and Chelsea and Dustin Elliott with their daughter Adrean pose with reusable plastic water bottles donated through the community outreach project, dubbed Operation Rehydrate.

During the COVID pandemic, the Anderson, Indiana, Community School District had shut off water fountains as a safety precaution. The district found it to be a slow process to get things back to working order, and kids without reusable bottles had no access to water.   

Chelsea Elliott posted about the problem on Facebook, while Dustin reached out to his local, UWUA Local 108, and other area unions. Local 108 President Ryan Green said it’s an apt project for the 62 members of his local who work at the Anderson Water Department, and they voted to take it on. “Operation Rehydrate” soon raised $3,000 to purchase hundreds of reusable plastic water bottles.   

The early success inspired the Elliotts to dream bigger. They reached out to LifeVac, a company that manufactures anti-choking devices, with a proposal to place a LifeVac kit in all 500 classrooms in the district. Local 108 is working with other area unions and community groups to raise the $10,000 needed to fund the effort.