Rockwood Labor Club reaches out to veterans at ‘Open House Stand Down’

REACHING OUT TO VETERANS: Rockwood Labor Club members participating in the Veterans Open House Stand Down were (from left) Rockwood Labor Club Vice President Wally Wuelling (Elevator Constructors Local 3), U.S. Army veteran Shawn Milligan (Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562), U.S. Army Veteran Sam Phipps (Local 562) and Rockwood Labor Club President Marty McClimens. Brother Phipps also works with The Fallen Outdoors, a nonprofit that helps network veterans by organizing hunting and fishing adventures. – Labor Tribune photo

Helmets to Hardhats, Veterans In Piping programs offer opportunities to transition to civilian trade careers

Eureka, MO – For the third year running, the Rockwood Labor Club participated in the “Veterans Open House Stand Down” program for returning veterans and active duty military service members Sept. 15 at the Eureka-Pacific Elks Lodge

Labor Club members manned a booth to relay information about North America’s Building Trades Unions’ “Helmets to Hardhats” program and the United Association’s VIP (Veterans In Piping) program, both of which help veterans apply the skills they’ve developed in the service in combination with union training for a civilian career.

“The hardest part is getting them here,” said Rockwood Labor Club President Marty McClimens. “A lot of times, it takes someone bringing them. But if we help just one person, that’s what’s important.”


The national, nonprofit Helmets to Hardhats program connects National Guard, Reserve, retired and transitioning active-duty military service members with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry. The program is designed to help military service members successfully transition back into civilian life by offering them the means to secure a quality career in the construction industry. You can find out more about the Helmets to Hardhats program at


The Veterans In Piping (VIP) program is a unique, nationwide effort by the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters (UA) to help returning veterans obtain job skills, and help journeymen upgrade the skills needed for specific jobs.

The program helps equip military service members preparing to leave the service with sought-after skills that can lead to lifelong careers in the increasingly in-demand pipe trades. Through 18-week accelerated courses – provided free of cost on military bases across the country – VIP participants earn industry-recognized certifications and a direct entry into solid private-sector jobs with good pay and benefits. You can find out more about the Veterans In Piping program at


Also participating in the Open House Stand Down were representatives from the Missouri Division of Workforce Development; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; the regional office of the Veterans Administration (VA); St. Louis County Human Services Veterans Program;  H.E.R.O.E.S. Care (, which helps support military families in the communities where they live; and The Fallen Outdoors (, which helps network veterans by organizing hunting and fishing adventures.

Eureka-Pacific Elks President and American Legion Post 177 Finance Officer Ron Kurtz said the event is all about getting veterans the benefits they deserve but are often too proud to ask about.

“They’re proud. They’ve served their country. But this isn’t a handout,” Kurtz said. “This is about paying them back for what they’ve done.”

For more information on veterans’ benefits, visit


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