United Steelworkers (USW) member Laura Drennan of Logan Lake, B.C., has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 USWCares Jefferson Award for Western Canada for her long-time community service.
Drennan, a member of USW Local 7619, works at the Highland Valley Copper Mine and has made many significant contributions for workers at the mine that have improved their working lives. Her activism continues in the community through preparing and sharing healthy meals for people who are struggling with health issues as well as volunteering at community events, barbecues and fundraisers.
“Laura is one of the strongest individuals I know and she has done so much for everyone over the years at the mine,” said Jason Arnold, nominator from USW Local 7619. “Laura does amazing work protecting members’ rights and ensuring the provisions of our collective agreement are enforced. She also helps to train and mentor many members in our local and throughout Western Canada as a union instructor. Her work inspires all of us and it was without hesitation that I nominated Laura for this year’s USWCares Jefferson Awards.”
Over the years, Drennan has helped raise millions of dollars through the annual United Way Campaign, encouraging Steelworkers to donate with funds matched by the company. These essential funds help many not-for-profit community organizations and charities in Kamloops and the surrounding communities.
Drennan suffered a massive stroke last year while attending an executive committee meeting for her local and nearly lost her life. She has made almost a full recovery and is as strong as ever.
“Laura has confirmed what we already know – she is as strong as steel,” said Stephen Hunt, USW Director for Western Canada. “I have seen Laura’s incredible strength and dedication that she brings to her activism and every issue she takes on. She has always been there for others and is one of the most caring and genuine people I have met. This award certainly honours her work and recognizes her outstanding contributions to our union and the community.”
“I am so honoured to receive this recognition from the USWCares Jefferson Awards,” said Drennan. “I don’t look for, or need, accolades. I do what I do because I believe in a better tomorrow for our members and the people in our community. At some point in life, everyone will need a hand up and some need it now. We have an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives – we just need to step up. I am so proud and grateful that my union supports members who want to make a difference in their communities.”
As a regional winner for USW District 3, Drennan will receive a $500 award that will be donated to the Logan Lake WHY (Wellness, Health & Youth) centre in her community.
Since 2015, the USW has partnered with Multiplying Good (formerly the Jefferson Awards Foundation), to celebrate Steelworkers who do amazing works of community service, and to show the world that Steelworkers have big hearts.
For many Steelworkers, lending a helping hand is part of being a member of our union. Outside of work, our members are known for their quiet generosity in their neighbourhoods. The USW is proud to have generous and compassionate members who foster a culture of giving back in our union.
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