MCO member-to-member volunteer work helps officers in Flint

UPDATE 2/19/16: Check out this video we put together on our day of volunteering in Flint. Thanks again to everyone who volunteered. We couldn’t have done it without you.

ORIGINAL POST 2/12/16: On Tuesday, a group of MCO members, retirees, and staff stopped by the homes of all 48 MDOC corrections officers living in Flint to deliver water, cards, and a water resource flyer.

Flint volunteers pose for a photo before heading out with water. Photo by Cindy Kogut.

Flint volunteers pose for a photo before heading out with water. Photo by Cindy Kogut.

Volunteers were very moved by some of the stories officers told at their doors. A few are experiencing health concerns, on top of the stress of using bottled water for drinking, cooking, and other daily needs.

“I want to thank you for donating this water for my son and I,” Officer Anderson said. “We’ve been in this battle for three years with the water crisis, and I just ask for your prayers for us.”

“When I saw (the water) on my porch when I got home, I just thought, ‘oh my gosh,’” Officer Walker said. “I read the card and thought, ‘this lady is from my job,’ so when I saw her, I definitely gave her thanks.”

Some of the officers volunteers visited said they aren’t connected to Flint city water and haven’t been impacted. But even they were happy to see MCO in their community. Those who have clean drinking water said they would give the water MCO delivered to friends or family who need it.

Volunteers, including MCO Executive Board Members were energized by meeting members face-to-face, hearing their stories, and doing something positive for them and their families.

“The interesting thing was that we were actually helping each other,” Board Member Cary Johnson said. “In the negative environment we work in every day, as a volunteer, I felt fantastic when we were done with our 48 deliveries and wanted to do more! There were officers from Detroit, St. Louis, Ionia, Carson City, the Forensic Center, both retired and probationary. It was so inspiring to see everyone coming together in our brothers’ and sisters’ time of need.”

President Tom Tylutki said hearing some of the Flint officers’ stories was humbling.

“In my 32 years as an MCO member, I’ve never been prouder to see members, retirees, staff, and SEIU staff come together for such a worthy cause,” Tylutki said.

Executive Board Member Ray Sholtz agreed.

“It was great to be part of members looking after members and their families,” Sholtz said.

MCO will also provide some humanitarian relief with a semi-truck full of water for the community.

MCO leaders and staff have been listening to members, who are telling us they want to see their union involved in the things that matter most. We know our brothers and sisters in Flint need our help, so we’re doing what we can to bring them some relief.

Anyone wishing to give to the MCO Crisis Fund may mail a check to: MCO Crisis Fund, 421 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, MI 48933. To the many who give regularly to the fund, we thank you.

For more photos from Flint, visit us on Flickr.

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