Earlier this year, ElevatorInfo traveled to International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC) Local 5 in the city of brotherly love (also known as Philadelphia, PA), to talk to elevator constructors involved in the Lift for a Vet program. A Lift for a Vet is a charitable effort started by Philadelphia elevator constructors that has since grown to help United States veterans across the country. Since its inception, the Lift for a Vet program has helped hundreds of veterans nationwide.
According to the Lift for a Vet website, the program’s mission is:
…to buy and install elevators, home lifts, stair lifts or wheelchair lifts in the residence of U.S. military service veterans with disabilities from any era, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Afghanistan or Iraq. Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan often require special modifications made to their homes so it is handicapped accessible. A wheelchair lift or elevator can be the ticket to getting someone back home and on the way to recovery. Many older vets, those from WWII, Korea, and Vietnam eras, have lost independence in their daily routine because they find it difficult to navigate stairs. A LIFT FOR A VET can help those veterans continue to lead independent lives with the installation of a stair lift1.
So how does this program operate? First, IUEC elevator constructors and IUEC-affiliated companies donate different types of vertical transportation equipment (including elevators, home lifts, stair lifts, and wheelchair lifts) to the program to be installed in the homes of the veterans who need it – recently, signatory companies Quality Elevator, Elevator Control Service (ELCON), and Schindler Elevator have generously contributed equipment and supplies. Then, IUEC elevator constructors donate their time, skills, and expertise to ensure the success of each installation. All equipment – and the labor to install it – are provided at absolutely cost to the veterans.
In a blog post from earlier last summer, ElevatorInfo wrote about the story of the IUEC elevator mechanic and veteran who co-founded the Lift for a Vet program, Mike Walsh. After an injury during his last year of service in the United States Air Force, Mike Walsh joined fellow IUEC Local 5 member Ed Loomis to launch A Lift for a Vet. Their combined experience working in the elevator industry meant they understood exactly what it would take to get the program off the ground and begin providing this equipment to the United States veterans with disabilities who could benefit from it.
Walsh said, “our mission has always been to help veterans with disabilities any way we can…this is very personal. I know the name of nearly every veteran we’ve helped. This program has changed my life – it’s impacted the lives of every union member who has volunteered his or her time to help these heroes stay in their homes. At the end of the day, we’re helping these veterans maintain a sense of independence. Providing these lifts is our members’ way of giving back – it’s our way of expressing our appreciation for all these men and women have done for our nation.”
Through A Lift for a Vet, IUEC elevator constructor mechanics and apprentices have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those brave men and women who have served our country by giving them access to the home lift and residential elevator equipment that can help them live a better life.
A Lift for a Vet is funded entirely by donations. To support the program, in May of each year, members of IUEC Local 5 host an annual golf outing– similar to the way the IUEC elevator constructors in Local 2 Chicago host an annual golf tournament to fund the Diabetes Research Foundation. Because A Lift for a Vet has no operating costs, every dollar they raise goes directly to supporting veterans with disabilities.
All donations to A Lift for a Vet are tax deductible. “Your generosity – no matter the amount – will help A Lift for a Vet’s goal of providing the best lives possible for veterans with disabilities,” said Walsh. “Former members of the Armed Forces of the United States deserve our utmost respect and eternal gratitude, but perhaps even more importantly, fulfilling the physical needs of these men and women must be our priority – that’s critical.”
Find out more about the Lift for a Vet program or share information about a veteran you know who could benefit from it by visiting IUEC Local 5’s website.