Assemblymember Monica P. Wallace (D-Lancaster) on Friday honored members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 4 (IUPAT) for volunteering tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of labor to maintain the USS The Sullivans at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park.
Last spring, the Naval Park directors reached out to the Finishing Trades Institute of Western and Central New York, the training and education department of IUPAT DC 4, to request assistance for maintenance to the USS The Sullivans and several structures at the Naval Park. The Naval Park struggled to pay for the cost of the maintenance due to drops in attendance caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
When IUPAT members learned of the financial challenges the Naval Park was facing, members immediately stepped up to help. Six apprentices painted the starboard side of the USS The Sullivans over a week during the summer, working from a floating barge. Union members also repainted the lobby in the Naval Park Museum, repainted the walls and ceiling in the Hanger Building, and installed a high-performance epoxy floor in the Hangar, with assistance from Flex Epoxy Floor owner Mike Jonas. Altogether, the donated labor from IUPAT was valued at over $60,000. Union members plan to paint the port side of USS The Sullivans this coming spring.
“Our community is lucky to have such generous IUPAT members donating their time and labor to save one of our community gems,” said Assemblymember Wallace. “The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park is a Western New York icon and a valuable institution for learning about military history. Thanks to the generosity of IUPAT’s brothers and sisters in labor, this monument to our courageous servicemembers will be preserved for future generations.”
“The Buffalo Naval Park is a showpiece of Western New York that we are all very proud of. Our members take great pride in helping to preserve this memorial to our veterans, and we appreciate the recognition from Assemblymember Wallace,” said IUPAT DC4 Organizer Wesley Schlossin. “The members of the IUPAT are committed to giving back to the communities in which they live and work. We hope to inspire others to do the same.”
“We are extremely grateful to the members of IUPAT for their generous efforts to make improvements to the USS The Sullivans and the Hangar Building,” said Buffalo Naval Park President and CEO Paul Marzello, Sr. “Their actions honor the sacrifices made by all those who served on this historic ship and active military serving around the globe today.”
The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park is the largest inland naval park in the United States and features four decommissioned US Navy vessels, as well as a museum, exhibits, and the Monuments Garden. USS The Sullivans was a Fletcher-class destroyer that deployed in World War II and the Korean War, and was named after the five Sullivan brothers, who died together in combat aboard the USS Juneau in 1942; it’s the only US Navy shipped named after more than one person.