Through a myriad of actions and programs, America's Building Trades Unions have maintained a rich history of honoring and assisting our nation's military veterans. In fact, a significant percentage of the collective membership base of all building and construction trades unions is comprised of men and women who possess active duty and National Guard military experience. So, for us to support various veterans causes is a no-brainer. That is a primary reason that America's Building Trades Unions are such adamant supporters of the "Helmets to Hardhats" program that connects transitioning military and National Guard personnel with career training opportunities in the skilled trades.
Another worthwhile endeavor that has captured our attention and support is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF). At some point this year, ground will be broke on the construction of a new Education Center at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. This four-story $60 million project will not only honor veterans from the Vietnam War, but those from all wars and especially those who gave their life to in service to their country.
Through interactive exhibits and primary source materials, visitors to the new Education Center will be able to better understand the profound impact the Vietnam war, and all other wars, had on family members, their home towns, their communities and the nation. Further, the Center will provide a framework for the public to understand just how the Vietnam Memorial Wall has played a vital and important role in helping to heal the bitter divisions that tore at our nation's heart and soul during the tumultuous 1960s.
In support of this patriotic and worthy project, a few months ago I asked each building and construction trades union to do what they could to help raise the needed funds for the Center. To date, our unions have raised $33,500 for the Center. I am proud that our unions always, ALWAYS, rise to the occasion when it comes to helping and honoring those who wear the uniform of our nation. We are incredibly blessed to have brave men and women make the commitment to our nation’s all-voluntary military force. These heroes protect the rights and freedoms for which generations before us fought so hard, and America's Building Trades Unions will always be there to make sure that our nation does right by them.