The UE Local 506 Sports Committee takes their commitment to veterans seriously — but not too seriously to have fun. Since 1996, they have raised $319,873 for the Erie VA Medical Center with a variety of events that bring UE members and their families together, honor veterans’ service, and raise money to meet the needs of local veterans.
This year’s “Welcome Home FORE Our Veterans” golf tournament, sponsored by the Sports Committee, raised $8,643. The golf tournament has been held annually since 2008. From 1996-2006 the Sports Committee sponsored 5K run/walks to support the VA, and they have sponsored an annual bowling tournament since 2003.
“We could not do the things we do for our Veterans without your help,” Erie VA Medical Center Voluntary Service Specialist Carol Goodman told Local 506 in a recent email. Funds raised by the Local 506 Sports Committee have supported recreation, transportation, services for homeless veterans, the National Wheelchair Games, the Women Veterans Fund, a veteran outreach center, and a variety of other services.
In addition to events to support the VA, the Sports Committee has sponsored raffles and sold t-shirts, hats, hoodies and jackets to support various community causes. They have made donations to the local food bank, toy drive, “trail of treats,” and Erie’s Labor Day parade, and provided shirts for Local 506 members participating in the Veterans Day parade.
The Local 506 Sports Committee also worked with the Eastern Region to sell breast cancer awareness shirts throughout the region, raising a total of $3200 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Many UE Local 506 leaders first got involved in the local through the Sports Committee, says longtime Sports Committee leader and Local 506 executive board member Matt McCracken. McCracken gave a report on the Sports Committee’s activities to the recent Eastern Region council meeting, urging other locals to follow Local 506’s example and offering help with setting up sports committees in other locals or making contacts with local VAs.