As the workers of Verso Corporation prepared for the indefinite closure of the Wickliffe Mill, a group of USW Local 680 members from the mill’s maintenance department made decisions that will benefit over 500 school children and individuals with disabilities – many of whom are complete strangers to the members.
Like many of their co-workers, Local 680 Wickliffe Mill Maintenance members have been contributing a small amount of their pay checks to provide food, flowers, and other needs of their employee group who became sick or passed away. However, over the years, the fund had grown to the point that it allowed members to make donations to a variety of causes. With the mill is closing, the group voted to distribute the balance of the account to support hungry school children and to purchase Christmas gifts for individuals living in personal care homes who are without family members.
In total, the group donated $19,000. Checks were presented Nov. 6 at the Local 680 Union Hall in Wickliffe. Groups benefiting from the donation are from the four counties most affected by the mill’s closure: Ballard with 101 affected employees, Carlisle County with 58 affected employees, Graves County with 44 affected employees, and McCracken County with 61 affected employees.
Donations were as follows: $9,000 to support the Family Focus weekend feeding program at Ballard County Schools; $3,000 each to support the Feeding America Backpack program for Carlisle County Schools, Graves County and Mayfield Independent Schools, and McCracken County Schools; and $1,000 to PADD’s Silver Bells Program to purchase Christmas gifts for individuals living in personal care homes who are without family members.
“We are deeply grateful for this donation to our Family Focus Snack Pack program. Food is sent home with students for the weekend, and currently, 88 children are being served. At its peak last year, there were 100 students on that list,” said Ballard County Superintendent Casey Allen. “For these workers to think about hungry kids and lonely elders as they deal with their own difficulties, it’s just humbling and heart-warming.”
Members of the Local 680 Wickliffe Mill Maintenance group including those who have retired are: Robert Anderson, Lawrence Andrews, Reese Andrews, Steven Arant, James Bagby, Barry Brooks, Mike Brummal, Chris Craycraft, Michael Curtsinger, Dwight Davis, Brian Derousse, Tommy Draper, Joseph Edwards, Randel Elliott, Christopher Ferren, Bruce Giltner, Joshua Hack, Brad Hall, Danny Harrison, Richard Hobbs, Richard Kaye, Keith Kidd, Blake King, Chad Looper, Charles Lovett, Michal Martin, James Moak, Michael Murphy, Rodney Perry, Gary Polivick, Adam Poole, David Robinson, Bill Schnuck, Chris Schnuck, David Speed, Gary Teasley, Robert Thomason, Ryan Thompson, Karen Thweatt, James Travis, Jerry Vinson, Douglas Warren, Keith Webb, Nathan Whipple, Andy Whitlock, Steven Wiesenmayer, Harry Williams, and Jerry Williams.