Mishelle Wallace second St. Louis-area tradeswoman to receive the national award
By SHERI GASSAWAY
Mishelle Wallace, a 12-year member of Iron Workers Local 392, has been recognized with a North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) Tradeswoman Hero Award.
Wallace, 54, is the second St. Louis metro area tradeswoman to be honored in the program, which began last October. Emily Gilreath, a third-year apprentice with Laborers Local 338, received an award earlier this year.
Local 392 Business Manager John Schmitt nominated Wallace for the award, calling her a great asset to all tradespeople.
“Being a pillar of the community, Mishelle is always in great spirits, and she is idolized by everyone that works with or around her,” Schmitt said. “She packs and ties rods on bridge decks – some of the hardest work in the industry – and never complains.”
To underscore her strength and shining personality, Schmitt submitted a photo of Wallace (see above) after she worked a shift last year in 94-degree weather with a heat index of 102.
“The day before, a 25-year-old man went home in the morning, and on the day I took that photo of Mishelle, two young men went home early and never returned. She is extremely strong both physically and mentally.”
Wallace, of Cahokia, Ill., works for D&K Welding. She said she knew Schmitt nominated her for the award and was very surprised when she won.
“I’ve never won anything like this before, and I’m sure there are many other women who are more deserving,” Wallace said. “But it’s an honor.”
Wallace is a second-generation iron worker following in her uncle’s footsteps. Her son Arlandis Henderson, 23, is a Local 392 apprentice who joined the union last year.
“He joined because he thought I was rich,” she joked.
Wallace said when she joined Local 392, she honestly thought she was going to be on a street holding a sign.
“It was hard work, but once you get in there and get the hang of it, it becomes easier,” she said. “Plus, I enjoy the people I work with, and I like being outdoors and the travel.”
NABTU’s Tradeswomen Heroes Awards program recognizes four tradeswomen each month who lead by example and perform their duties at an outstanding level. The program honors two apprentices and two journey-level workers in the United States and Canada.
To learn more about the program or to make a nomination, visit nabtu.org/twbn.