December 21, 2007 Volume 108 Number 24

ILWU, Carpenters give boost to Fire Fighters’ Toy & Joy program

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Pacific NW Regional Council of Carpenters donated hundreds of gifts to the Portland Fire and Rescue’s Toy and Joy program.

At a press conference Dec. 13, members of Portland Fire Fighters Local 43, including President Ken Burns, helped load bikes, toys, trains, school supplies and clothes into a U-Haul truck.

ILWU Locals 5, 8, 40 and 92 contributed 100 bikes and enough toys to fill two trucks — about $13,000 worth. Local 8 President Jeff Smith and Secretary Karl Lunde were on hand to deliver the goods.

Also making a delivery and helping load presents were Bob Acker, business rep of Pile Drivers Local 2416, and Bruce Ashback, business rep of Vancouver Carpenters Local 1715, both are affiliates of the Carpenters Regional Council.

“This really helps us help needy children in the Portland area,” said Dean Johnson, director of the Toy & Joy program in Portland.

Toy & Joy started in 1914, when Sellwood firefighter Eddie Boatright fixed a broken red wagon for a neighborhood boy. It blossomed from there, to the point where today, Portland firefighters gather 100,000 toys every year for more than 20,000 children, who might otherwise not have gifts during the holiday season.

“The Longshore workers want to do our part to make sure that kids know that Santa is thinking about them, too,” said ILWU Local 8’s Smith.

Also attending the press conference were City Commissioner Erik Sten, Fire Chief Dave Sprando and Santa Claus.