Member Letter Shows Example of SMART Solidarity
True Unionism is exemplified in the SMART Disaster Relief Fund—and in how we work to reach every member who might need it. After the 2017 hurricanes, a 50-year member from Chicago who had retired to Florida learned of the fund in his Local 73 newsletter and, reluctantly, asked for assistance. He and his wife wrote eloquent letters of thanks, excerpted here. Their words say a lot about Unionism, too.
Member Guy Raimondi:
“Hurricane Irma was a direct hit on Naples. The next day we saw that all I had worked for, with the blessings of my employment in Local 73, was a wreck. It was heartbreaking.
“Then, after a day clearing debris together, my wife suffered a heart attack and torn heart valve. Since then I have been balancing care taking with repairs, all while worrying about financing the needed work. Our insurance does not cover many things and has a high deductible.
“Needless to say, the Relief Fund check was overwhelmingly touching. Please know how grateful I am. I am, and always have been, proud to be a Union member. The letter it came with, addressing me as ‘Brother,’ choked me up. Thank you from my heart.”
His wife, Kathleen Raimondi, added:
“Guy is a self-made man. He has never asked anyone for help. That is why the check moved him, particularly the salutation ‘Dear Brother.’
“I read [then- Bus. Manager and SMART General Vice President] Rocco Terranova’s message in the newsletter. He asked to be told about anyone in hurricane-affected areas that needed help. I told Guy.
“Guy was completely unaware there might be assistance. He didn’t want to, but, faced with my open-heart surgery and overwhelming storm damage, Guy called the Local about help—his first-ever such request.
“We are grateful for the quick and caring flow of response. I believe Mr. Terranova contacted [Assistant to the SMART General President] Marc Norberg, who contacted Local 15 Business Manager Patrick O’Leary, who came to visit Guy.
“Mr. O’Leary told Guy that although he is retired, ‘You are not forgotten. You are still our union Brother.’ I know this touched Guy’s heart. I know this because he put his heart into sheet metal work.
“This year Guy will receive his 50-year pin from Sheet Metal Union Local 73. His Union employment put a roof over our heads—his, mine, and our two children.
“I wish to thank everyone who helped provide this assistance from the Disaster Relief Fund. It means so much to us, and it will be used to help us get a roof over our heads—again.”