Volunteers help clean up VFW Post 3173

Painters, electricians, cement workers and laborers from more than 10 Southern California unions volunteered to clean up VFW Post 3173 in Anaheim on Nov. 6 as part of a statewide labor union project supporting veterans.

The volunteer effort was one of dozens across the state of California this week as part of the new “Veterans + Labor – Partners in Service” project launched earlier this year. Sponsored by California unions, “Veterans + Labor – Partners in Service” aims to support and raise up veterans on three fronts: providing volunteer service, opening doors to good jobs and a special Veterans Day event to honor our heroes for their service.

Volunteers—including members of the Cal State Fullerton Reserve Officers’ Training Corps—power-washed and painted the front of the building, leveled uneven cement on sidewalks, cleaned out office rooms and fixed electrical outlets. The building has been on Sycamore Street since 1961.

“It was overdue—that’s how needed this was. It’s just fantastic that all of the trades have come out and adopted this post this year for this project,” said Gary Mason, commander of the Anaheim VFW. “I’m so grateful, the membership—we’re all so thankful it happened.”

The volunteers were happy to lend their skills to help our nation’s heroes.

“People hear a lot of negative things about unions in newspapers and on TV, but we’re just people like everyone else,” said Doug Mangione, business representative at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 441 in Orange. “We’re workers, we fight for workers—that’s our job. When the community sees us out here doing this and we’re not getting a dime for it, I think they look at us in a different light.”

Orange County workers also helped clean up USS Iowa Naval ship in San Pedro on Nov. 9, and on Veterans Day hosted a free community celebration at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.