Retired Machinist honored for lifetime of service

SEATTLE – A retired Machinists Union member has received a lifetime achievement award from the White House, honoring his long dedication to community service.

GeorgeMug1George Braun of SeaTac received a President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his service through the Machinists Volunteer Program, which is the community-service arm of Machinists Union District Lodge 751.

The awards are given by the White House through the Points of Light Foundation to recognize and encourage community service volunteers.

Braun doesn’t do it for the recognition, said Martha Davis, who runs the Toy Rescue Mission in Tacoma, a non-profit where Braun is a regular volunteer, helping to refurbish used toys so they can be given as birthday, Christmas or Easter presents to children in low-income families.

“I love George,” she said. “It doesn’t matter about awards. If there’s work to be done, he’ll do it.”

Braun also volunteers regularly for Northwest Harvest, noted Northwest Harvest CEO Shelly Rotondo, doing everything from collecting money and food from donors at special events to sorting and repackaging donated food at the Northwest Harvest warehouse in Kent.

“His commitment to the fight against hunger is deep, unassailable and very personal,” she said. “George does not shirk from hard work, and his hard work brings our vision – that ample nutritious food is available to everyone in Washington state – that much closer to reality.”

In addition, Braun is a regular kitchen volunteer at The Rescue Mission in Tacoma and at outreach events to provide services to homeless people across King and Pierce County. He also regularly participates with other members of the union’s MVP Committee to build wheelchair ramps for homebound people across Puget Sound.

In all, Braun has donated 5,149 hours of his time to union-sponsored community service projects since 2006 – an average of 572 hours a year, which is the equivalent of working full-time for three months each year.

“George is someone we can count on whenever we have a project,” said Rob Curran, the chairman of the union’s MVP Committee. “Because of him, we’re able to help more people, and that’s really what our committee is all about.”

George2Braun, who is 81, retired from Boeing in 1995 after a 37-year career.

“I want to be just like George when I retire,” said Davis. “I have a lot of respect for George.”

Braun was one of nine IAM 751 members to be recognized by the White House for their community service through the Machinists Volunteer Program in 2014.

In addition to Braun, Curran, Brenda Brammer and Chris Louie all received gold-level President’s Volunteer Service awards, for having given more than 500 hours to community service projects; Vennie Murphy received a silver-level award for giving more than 250 hours; and Adrian Camez, Clark Fromong, Jim Hutchins and Terri Myette all received bronze-level awards for giving more than 100 hours.

In all, the union’s MVP committee took part in 461 community service events in 2014. Union volunteers helped out organizations like Northwest Harvest, The Rescue Mission in Tacoma, the Everett Gospel Mission, the Toy Rescue Mission, the Salvation Army and Project Homeless Connect in Pierce County.

PacificRampMachinists Union volunteers built 16 wheelchair ramps for families across Puget Sound in 2014, while also taking part in events like the National Association of Letter Carriers’ Food Drive, the KING-TV Hometeam Harvest food drive and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.

In addition, IAM 751 volunteers also helped raise $322,000 last year for Guide Dogs of America, a charity that provides service dogs and training in their use free of charge to people who are blind or have impaired vision from across the United States and Canada.

“Our MVPs do a lot of work in the community that improves the lives of other people,” said IAM 751 President Jon Holden. “That’s what unions stand for – working together to make things better – and our MVPs are great examples of how that philosophy can benefit our communities.”

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 nearly 34,000 working men and women at 52 employers across Washington and California.

Follow IAM 751 on Twitter.


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