Union Vets Prepare for the Eye of the Storm

(Washington D.C) As hurricane Dorian churns toward Florida’s east coast, union veterans find themselves in many vital roles during preparation for landfall. Members of the Union Veterans Council affiliated unions make up some of the most critical jobs our nation has in a time of crisis; from FEMA to our advanced forecasting systems these workers ensure Americans are informed and prepared.

We spoke with a few of these workers today to hear what they had to say about the upcoming emergency situation. Steve Reaves(U.S Army), FEMA Union President, AFGE National Local 4060 started with a clear message, “If you can get out, get out” said Reeves. “Most importantly listen to the warnings and guidance State and Local agencies put out, this is no time to not follow their alerts”          

Douglas Lowe (USMC), Florida Chapter 1 President at Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS) is an Airway Transportation Systems Specialist. Lowe is directly in the cone of the storm and is preparing workers and critical infrastructure at the Orlando International Airport to weather the storm and bring back operations after the eye passes to support disaster relief. We talked to Doug via phone:   

(UVC)-Great to talk to you Brother, can you tell us about your unit and what efforts the members of PASS Chapter 1 are taking part in?  

(Doug Lowe)- 95% of our unit is made up of veterans, represented by almost all branches of service. Our Veterans in (PASS) step up every time to get the supplies and keep operations functioning.  We even drove down to Miami, making a 7 hour round trip to secure MREs for our employees to have food during and after the storm so we can make sure the airport is back up and functioning as fast as possible after the storm.

(UVC) How does your military background prepare you for these stressful emergency situations?   

(Doug Lowe) “As a Veteran and Union Leader, I often find myself leading the way in dangerous and chaotic situations. My training in the Marine Corps helps me keep calm and think about planning. This week I worked with other veterans to help secure donations of water supplies for the central Florida radar approach control facility #F11 and the Orlando International Airport #MCO Air Traffic control tower. The military taught us that slow is smooth and smooth is fast, this is a lesson everyone should think about when your blood starts pumping in a time of crisis”

The Union Veterans Council will continue to monitor the situation and keep track of the members in harm's way and the workers who will be supporting their communities as Hurricane Dorian moves closer to the coast. Steve Reaves adds, “the best thing for everyone is to have a plan, but be ready to adjust to the warnings and directives emergency agencies make”. Make sure to visit  (FEMA-Hurricane Preparation Guide) and stay safe.