Early on the morning of November 17, with severe storms forecast in Chicago, my husband turned to me and said, “It’s your call.” Translation: You decide whether we are going to participate in RUN4MFG, a 5k run/walk sponsored by FABTECH® hosts the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl.® (FMA), the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), the American Welding Society (AWS), the Precision Metalforming Association (PMA), and the Chemical Coaters Association International (CCAI). The race was to start at 9 a.m., and the storms were forecast to hit the area by 10. My call? Let’s do it.
The temperature was in the relatively balmy 60s. We took a cab to Lincoln Park and greeted other brave, though somewhat foolish, participants who turned out for the event to raise money that will fund endeavors to prepare the future manufacturing workforce—participants determined to finish by the 10 a.m. storm ETA.
I’m a recreational walker who doesn’t walk regularly, so I had my doubts about accomplishing the deadline. My husband, good spouse that he is, chose to walk with me rather than take off on his own at a much faster pace.
We walked as briskly as possible, dodged more than the occasional puddle, trod on yellow gingko leaves along the path, and battled winds so strong that they made it impossible for the organizers to put up tents for the event—all the while, scanning the sky for storm clouds and lightning.
We made it safely to the finish, as did the other 130 participants in this second annual run. Shortly thereafter, the winds picked up in Chicago. The storm delayed the Bears game at Soldier Field, and tornadoes caused widespread destruction in parts of Illinois and other Midwestern states. Far from a good day for many, and, for some, a devastating day.
However, it was a relatively good day for manufacturing. The event raised about $15,000 that will go toward summer camps and scholarships to train future manufacturing workers. It will be repeated at FABTECH 2014 in Atlanta. I plan to be there and hope more of the metal fabricating community will participate. It’s a small way to help a vitally important sector, and every bit of help matters. That goes for helping those affected by the Nov. 17 tornadoes as well. They need all the help we can give them.
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