Local Union 25 Member Earns Annual Volunteer Award
Downtown Davenport’s Hot Glass Inc. recently received a facelift, courtesy of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 25 member volunteers. The nonprofit — which teaches valuable life skills to veterans and at-risk or underserved youth through the experience of blown-glass art — moved into an upgraded studio and worked with Local 25 to obtain new equipment and create custom layouts for running natural gas piping, oxygen piping, compressed air, and more throughout the studio.
Although a multitude of volunteers, community organizations and private benefactors helped make the remodel possible, Joe Burkhart of Crawford Company is credited with spearheading coordination efforts. Upon completion of the project, the union member of 29 years was nominated for the Volunteer of the Year Award, and was recognized during a February 10 awards banquet.
“Each year, people are nominated who are doing things above and beyond in the community — some do charitable work for the less fortunate, others work with nonprofits,” said Bill Allison, Local 25 business agent. “Of the Local 25 members nominated, Joe stood out because he took the bull by the horns on the Hot Glass project. He really took the lead on it and put in extra time to help make a unique space where local students and veterans can participate in a positive, one-of-a-kind activity.”
“Joe’s the type of guy who’s always out there doing something, but he’s just too modest to tell you,” Allison continued.
Burkhart’s appreciation for those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces energized the work he put in to the Hot Glass project.
“I’m really big on veterans — my dad was a veteran in the Vietnam War,” Burkhart said. “There are a lot of veterans that are in the plumbing and pipefitting trade, and I always try to do things for them, like take them to the doctor if they need a ride and I’m able to drive them. Joel (Hot Glass owner) does a lot of work for troubled teens and veterans, so for this particular project I volunteered to help organize the labor, material and donations.”
The Volunteer of the Year Award has been presented to deserving Local 25 members since 2005.