Local 157 uses Youth Ranch cabin construction as ‘real-world, outdoor classrooms’ for apprentices

BRAZIL – Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 157 joined ranks with Indiana sheriffs and deputies on Saturday to help future law enforcement officers, at-risk kids, young witnesses, and victims of crime.

Union trainers and trainees from across the Wabash Valley used construction on four new cabins at the nonprofit Indiana Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch as “real-world, outdoor classrooms for apprentices,” said Scott Minier, ISYR executive director.

Nearly two dozen union plumbers and apprentices donated an entire workday to connect plumbing for the new cabins, Minier said. When completed, each bunkhouse will sleep 10 students and two adult councilors for free overnights, weekend retreats, and weeklong leadership camps. All cabins will be handicapped accessible and provide private restrooms, he added.

“Teamwork is something we teach student leaders when they visit our Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch,” said Minier. “We emphasize that effective public safety results when police work with the community and the community work with the police. Today, we’re witnessing community members—specifically union community members—going above and beyond by volunteering and helping build accommodations to train tomorrow’s first responders.”  

Local 157 dates back to 1896 and currently boasts 1,780 members in 16 counties across West Central Indiana and East Central Illinois, according to the organization’s website.  

“Through the years, Local 157 has developed an excellent reputation for their hard work and community service,” Minier said. “Plumbers and Steamfitters have helped Habitat for Humanity, United Way of the Wabash Valley, Wabash Valley Community Foundation, Indiana Blood Center, Relay for Life, and the United Cerebral Palsy Telethon.”

In addition, to support from Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 157, the Youth Ranch receives volunteer hours and donations from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 175, Operating Engineers Local 841, and Teamsters Local 135. All are part of the Central Wabash Valley Building and Construction Trades Council.

For more information on the Sheriffs’ Youth Ranch, to volunteer or donate, call 317-460-4242, write to ISYR, 5325 N. State Road 59, Brazil, IN 47834, or email ScottMinier@yahoo.com.