VETERANS COMMITTEE: Revitalizing Support for Our Heroes: The New Direction of Local 18007’s Veterans Committee

Joe Tischina, USMC, Region IV Veterans Committee Director

In Chicago, Gasworkers Local 18007 is revitalizing its Veterans Committee with a new and exciting direction. The committee is establishing its own American Legion Post to support our local’s veterans. The American Legion assists veterans in obtaining comprehensive medical, career, and educational benefits and helps with VA claims applications. One of our primary goals is to guide veterans through the claims process efficiently and effectively.

We plan to hold monthly workshops to assist members with paperwork and the claims process. With over 700 veterans employed in our local, we aim to become one of the largest lodges in Chicago and the largest Veterans Committee in the country.

Our veterans actively support the Veterans Closet near the Great Lakes Naval Base by collecting donations from company shops and personally delivering them. In addition to our current initiatives, the committee is exploring alternative veteran programs in Chicago to support.

Our Veterans Committee will be working hand in hand with our local’s newly formed Mental Health Committee. Together, we aim to prioritize veterans’ mental health and wellness, offering an alternative to our company’s process. Who better to provide support than fellow veterans?

Our local’s new leadership is enthusiastic and supportive of veterans in the UMAP program at Dawson Technical-City Colleges of Chicago. The local has invited the Veterans Committee to participate in the orientation process for UMAP veterans, aiding their transition into the local and Peoples Gas.

I’m grateful to co-chairs James McGrath, a Marine Corps veteran from our North Shop, and Victor Jimenez, a Marine Corps veteran from our South Shop, as well as committee members Carla Casas, an Army veteran from Central Shop, and Deshon King, a Navy veteran from South Shop. With such dedicated leadership, the future of the Gas Workers Local 18007 Veterans Committee is bright and promising.