Madison County Federation honors service to labor, community
East Alton – A large crowd turned out March 28 at Julia's Banquet Center in East Alton for the Greater Madison County Federation of Labor's 24th annual awards banquet to see five people honored for their service to the community and the labor movement.
• David Beard of Waterloo, business manager for Iron Workers Local 392, based in East St. Louis and representing 22 counties, was named the Labor Leader of the Year for 2013. Beard has been active with the labor movement since he was 18 years old and became the local's business manager in 2004.
"When you need David, he will be there," Rick Stamer of Iron Workers Local 392 said in presenting the award.
Beard thanked the Federation for supporting community service, political and charity efforts of unions.
• The Friend of Labor award went to Madison County Clerk Debbie Ming Mendoza, of Granite City, who was elected in November after serving as county assessor.
B. Dean Webb, president of the Federation, said Mendoza had been instrumental in getting union members registered to vote.
Mendoza was elected in a Democratic sweep of county offices. "Election night proved that organized labor is the reason the Democratic Party came back in Madison County," she said.
Two community service awards were presented by United Way of Greater St. Louis officials Roz Sherman Voellinger, labor liaison, and Missy Endres, vice president for the Illinois region.
• Kevin Hamilton of Alton received the Odell Fox Award for volunteer service. He is the Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis representative for Jersey, Madison and Calhoun counties.
• Drew Gitchoff of Granite City, a member of Teamsters Local 525, received the Karen Brown Heart of the Community Award for his extensive charitable work.
• Eric Benefield of Brighton was honored with the George Meany Award for scouting leadership. He is a member of IBEW Local 649 and has been a Boy Scout leader since the 1990s.