Jul 18, 2012

UFCW Members, Family Members Awarded Union Plus Scholarships

Congratulations b to this year's winners of the Union Plus Scholarship Program, which celebrates 20 years this year.

This year, they awarded $150,000 in scholarships to 129 students representing 44 unions, including the UFCW.

Union Plus Scholarship awards are granted to students attending a two-year college, four-year college, graduate school or a recognized technical or trade school. Since starting the program in 1991, Union Plus has awarded more than $3.3 million in educational funding to more than 2,200 union members, spouses and dependent children. Recipients are selected based on academic ability, social awareness, financial need and appreciation of labor.

Meet the 2012 UFCW Honorees

Local 5—Christopher Blum
Christopher Blum of Santa Cruz, CA, who is a member of UFCW Local 5, has been awarded a $500 scholarship. Christopher has been a UFCW member for more than 20 years and is part of a two-union household; his wife, Marla, is a SEIU member. He calls the strike of 1993, in which he served as a picket captain, “a memorable and uniting experience.” Now this longtime union man and father of two is ready for a new chapter in his life. He is enrolled in a nursing program and looking forward to becoming a registered nurse.

Local 5—Lauren Boag
Lauren Boag of San Ramon, CA, whose mother Kerry is a member of UFCW Local 5, has been awarded a $750 scholarship. Lauren is the proud daughter of two generations of UFCW members, including a grandfather in the IBEW who was “not one to sit back and let the big bosses take advantage of employees,” she says. Lauren likes to give her time and energy to causes she believes in, and led her school’s Save Darfur Club for two years along with volunteer work with children and seniors in her community. But her greatest passion is the environment. Lauren founded a marine conservation group and has led cleanup efforts from small creeks to the California coast. She plans to study environmental engineering.

Local 5—Alejandra Garcia
Alejandra Garcia of Walnut Creek, CA, whose father Marco is a member of UFCW Local 5, has been awarded a $750 scholarship. Becoming a teacher will be the fulfillment of a dream for Alejandra. She has been a tutor and looks forward to leading a classroom of her own, educating and inspiring children. Teaching also comes with another advantage that’s very important to Alejandra. “Being in a union will be one of the main benefits of the job,” she says, expressing her gratitude for the good pay and benefits her father receives as a UFCW member.

Local 8—Don Hampton
Don Hampton of Sacramento, CA, whose father Wesley and mother Patricia are both members of UFCW Local Golden 8, has been awarded a $500 scholarship. Don understands how critical his family’s UFCW health insurance is—his brother received much-needed care after an auto accident, and his father’s worn-out knees were taken care of after a lifetime of work had taken its toll. He has faced many health challenges of his own without the benefit of such insurance, but, he says, “Now thriving physically and mentally, I desire to help those who were once like me,” he says. Don is pursuing a dual degree in biological sciences and business, with the goal of working in a cancer treatment center or hospital.

Local 203C—Lacee Koplin
Lacee Koplin of Peru, IL, whose father Lloyd is a member of UFCW Local 203C, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship. Lacee aspires to become a public policy analyst. “I believe that change in government can help alleviate social problems such as poverty.” As the daughter of a longtime UFCW member, however, she understands that good union wages have helped millions of Americans enter the middle class and achieve financial security. “I have been privileged in my life to never experience poverty firsthand,” she says, “and that is mainly due to my father having a union job for most of my life.”

Local 325—Edward Auer
Edward Auer of Gibsonia, PA, who is a member of UFCW Local 325, has been awarded a $750 scholarship. “The union movement made me a stronger and confident individual,” says Edward, the president/business agent of his local. His family’s involvement includes his father’s membership in the Roofers and Waterproofers. Edward shows his strength through community service, which he loves sharing with his 7-year-old son, and he shows his confidence through his union leadership post, which he calls “the most rewarding position I’ve ever achieved.” Up next for this dedicated leader is completing his technical certification and opening his own business.
Local 325—Patricia Fisher
Patricia Fisher of Pittsburgh, PA, who is a member of UFCW Local 325, has been awarded a $750 scholarship. Spare time? No such thing in Patricia’s life. She’s a longtime UFCW member and chief steward at her factory. She’s also a military spouse and mother of two teenagers. And for nearly 20 years she’s been a volunteer firefighter, trained as an EMT and 911 dispatcher. Now Patricia is taking the classes she needs to work in fire science and administration full time. “I would like to further my education and career saving lives,” she says. “By furthering my education I will not only be helping myself, but I will also be making a positive change in the lives of others.”

Local 655—Deanne Petersen

Deanne Petersen of Wildwood, MO, who is a member of UFCW Local 655, has been awarded a $1,000 scholarship. With hard work and confidence anything can be achieved. “Some of the world’s greatest feats,” Deanne says, “were accomplished by people who refused to believe they were impossible.” She cites the members of America’s labor unions—“ordinary people with extraordinary thoughts”—as her inspiration. “My union embodies the work ethic and dedication that I genuinely seek to emulate in my own life.” Deanne is looking forward to completing her five-year program in regional and community planning and working to provide for the needs of a growing metropolitan area.


Local 881—Rocco Buttliere
Rocco Buttliere of Buffalo Grove, IL, whose mother Carla is a member of UFCW Local 881, has been awarded a $500 scholarship. Rocco has been building with LEGO blocks since he was 6. More than just a pastime, it soon became a passion. Throughout his school years, while excelling in many areas, Rocco kept right on building earning special recognition from one of 12 LEGO certified professionals. He is translating that passion into the pursuit of an architecture degree. Rocco knows that families, like buildings, need a solid foundation, and he is grateful for the example of his parents’ longtime union membership (his father is an IAFF member). “A union is stability,” he says. 

In addition to the Union Plus Scholarships, the following benefits help union families afford higher education:
•    Scholarships to help union members and leaders finish their degrees with an affordable, flexible and convenient online program at the National Labor College.
•    Discounts of 15 to 60 percent on college and graduate school test preparation courses from The Princeton Review. Discount includes classroom, online and private tutoring for the SAT®, ACT®, GMAT®, LSAT®, GRE® and MCAT® as well as college affordability and admissions online courses. Visit UnionPlus.org/CollegePrep or call 1-888-243-7737.

UFCW winner information provided by Union Plus

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