Council honors Machinist for community service

TACOMA — Machinist Union member Rob Curran has been honored by the Pierce County Central Labor Council with its top award for community service.

Lelli (left) and Curran

Council President Vance Lelli recently presented Curran with the group’s George Ginnis Memorial Community Service Award.

The award is given in the name of Ginnis, a long-time Tacoma longshoreman who was a dedicated union officer and tireless community volunteer. It is presented by the council to a Pierce County union member who does the most to support community service activities and embodies the values that Ginnis lived by.

Curran was a natural choice for the award, said Patty Rose, the Pierce County labor council’s secretary-treasurer.

Curran, who lives in Graham, was particularly active as a volunteer for the Tacoma Rescue Mission.

He donated 350 hours of his time to preparing and serving meals for homeless people at the mission in 2011, and also was one of the leaders of a District 751 food drive that collected 58 turkeys, seven hams and $1,458 to allow the mission to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

The holiday meal drive was a classic example of what Curran and his fellow members of the Machinists Volunteer Program are all about, said Machinists Union District Lodge 751 President Tom Wroblewski.

“Rob and the others saw a need and acted,” Wroblewski said. “They didn’t wait to be asked. That kind of community service really is something to admire.”

Curran also spent 140 hours volunteering at Northwest Harvest’s warehouse in Kent, where he helped sort and package food that is distributed to food banks in Pierce County and around western Washington. He also took part in Tacoma Connect’s homeless outreach program, and was an active volunteer raising money for Guide Dogs of America.

In all, Curran was credited with giving 708 hours of his own time to volunteer service in 2011.

This is the third time this year that Curran, who lives in Graham, has been honored for his community service.

In February, the White House honored Curran with a gold-level President’s Volunteer Service Award, the nation’s top honor for community service. And in March, District 751’s MVP Committee honored him as the top volunteer among the union’s officers.

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 31,500 working men and women at 45 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. Last year, members of the union’s Machinists Volunteer Program gave more than 10,000 hours of their own time to volunteer work, while also raising more than $263,000 for Guide Dogs of America, the union’s charity of choice.

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