The Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) members Michael James Industries Inc. and sister company County Fair Air Conditioning teamed up with the Steamfitters Local Union 638 Metals Trade Branch to help Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 2913 with vital repairs and replacement in the face of COVID-related budget shortfalls.
A fleet of trucks bearing a team of technicians and project manager from Michael James Industries arrived at the Patchogue, New York-based VFW Post 2913 on Sept. 22, 2020. They and company co-owner Michael Herman met with VFW members and their commander, Senator Monica Martinez, the president of the Building and Trades Council and a representative from Steamfitters Local Union 638.
The mission of the day was to remove a failed main HVAC system and replace it with a new five-ton system that included both outdoor and indoor units, hot water coil, re-piping and new valves. The system is one of three in the building, needed for heating and cooling the lower level used for meetings and member activities. Though the installation itself was routine, how it came to be was anything but.
Helping Hands – From Officials to Industry
The ball got rolling when Senator Monica Martinez received a visit from constituent Dave Rogers, a Veteran and the commander of VFW Post 2913, and his affable black labrador retriever service dog, Grunt. The visit was an appeal for help. The VFW found that they could not afford to repair or replace this vital system, with their income impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a member of the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, Veteran projects are a priority to Senator Martinez. She called Matthew Aracich, president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Nassau & Suffolk Counties, who in turn reached out to Steamfitters Local Union 638 Metals Trade Branch’s Union President Patrick Dolan, Jr.
Trade unions are well known for coming together to solve problems and improve communities, and their response was exactly that. In an incredibly generous act, Local Union 638 not only got on board; they also allocated funds through the Service Fitters Promotional Fund to purchase all of the equipment and materials donated to the VFW project.
Local Union 638 President Dolan called upon union members James Carlson and Michael Herman, owners of Michael James Industries, to ask if there was any way they could help with this project installation. Carlson said, “We’ve had such a great relationship with Union 638 for many years, and Veterans have sacrificed so much for us — we were happy to get behind this and lend our support.” Herman added, “We love helping out in our own community and giving back, so this project hits home.”
Volunteering for the Veterans
Thanks to the commitment and selfless generosity of so many helping hands volunteering from multiple offices and union trade organizations, VFW Post 2913 has a dependable new system that will allow them to continue to provide valuable services and support to area Veterans for many years to come.