Veteran's Advisory Council Chairman Receives Reuther Award

As the name implies,The Walter P. Reuther Distinguished Service Award is one reserved for those UAW members who have made extraordinary contributions to advance the cause of working people, their families and communities. The award provides a vehicle for the International and Local Unions to acknowledge the unselfish efforts of individuals who have made a positive difference in the advancement of human dignity and justice for all.

In UAW Region 2-B Director Ken Lortz's mind, this award was long overdue for one member. And so, it was at the Region's Annual Fall Outing that Director Lortz presented the award to the UAW Local 1892 retiree, Jim Taylor of Toledo.

Jim Taylor is a decorated veteran of the U.S. Army, having served with The First Cavalry Division in Vietnam as a Long Range Reconnaissance Scout from July 1966 until he was wounded on May 31st. 1967. He was the recipient of two bronze stars, one for meritorious service and one for heroism in combat, and two purple hearts. After being wounded the second time, he recovered in an Army hospital in Japan, and returned stateside haunted by memories of his time in Vietnam. Taylor recounts, “Back during the war I always felt sorry for the kids in Vietnam, in some cases their parents were killed or their homes were destroyed and I don't think they had any idea why.”

He hired in at the Maumee Ford Stamping plant, married, raised a family and retired in 2007. Along the way, Jim kept and made many friendships with others who served in Vietnam. He always held the faces of the Vietnamese children in his heart and he knew he wasn’t the only one.

On Veteran’s Day in 2000, Jim and seven other veterans met and formed what was to become the DOVE Fund or Devel¬opment of Vietnam Endeavors. Assisted greatly by U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, the fund achieves many things in Vietnam, primarily building medical facilities and schools for the kids whose faces Jim remembers so well. “While the kids we help today through the D.O.V.E. Fund are certainly not the same kids, they are reminders of the struggle over 40 years ago. I feel there is great satisfaction with giving something back to these kids and the people of Vietnam, some things that maybe we took away so long ago.” And so the fund also serves to bring healing, peace and understanding to the veterans involved in it.

During one of his numerous trips to Vietnam, Jim and DOVE co-founder, Tom Saams, a vet from UAW Local 14, now deceased, came into the possession of human remains they believed to be two MIAs. With Rep. Kaptur along, the remains were presented to the U.S. Consulate and a proper ceremony held for them.

Jim is the kind of member who is always there, ready to serve the UAW in any way he is asked. A skilled tradesman bargaining committee-member, and a Health and Safety Rep for 17 years, Jim was during all of that time, Chairman of the local union’s veteran’s committee as well. Additionally, he has served as the Chairman of Region 2-B’s Veterans Advisory Council for over 15 years, and this past year was elected President of the UAW International Veteran’s Advisory Council.

Not idle in retirement either, Taylor, three days a week travels to various grocery stores to pick up donated food items that he then delivers to his church where members there run a “hospitality kitchen” which produces a free meal for 250 -300 people weekly and then presents each with a bag of groceries to take home.
“It’s not every day that someone of Jim’s commitment to his fellow man comes along and I was happy to be able to recognize him with the Reuther Award.” comments Director Ken Lortz.