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Local 600 member helps military families get ready for deployment

Staff Sgt. Charles Cox with his wife, Beth Cox, a UAW Local 600 member.

Beth Cox works on the assembly line at Ford Motor Co.’s Dearborn (Mich.) Truck plant and has been a member of UAW Local 600 for 16 years. Besides being a local union activist, Cox serves as a Family Readiness Group (FRG) representative for Alpha Company 1-125 of the National Guard Detroit Lightguard Armory, her husband’s unit. A third-generation union member, she’s been married to Staff Sgt. Charles Cox for 10 years. He’s a retired Marine and a member of the National Guard in his seventh deployment to the Middle East. He’s served in the Persian Gulf War, Iraq and now Afghanistan. Sgt. Cox also has professional ties to Local 600 as a member and part-time worker at the truck plant. Solidarity magazine chatted with Beth Cox about what Local 600 is doing to support our troops.

How did the local get involved with supporting soldiers on deployment?

Local 600 President Bernie Ricke, A.J. Freer and Vinny Pfursich, along with Michael Whited (Staff Sgt. Cox’s uncle) actively sought to get involved with supporting our soldiers. They have been irreplaceable in the process. We have fund raisers for travel bags with calling cards, snacks and toiletries. When they get home, there is help with resumes and job searches. They have built a bond with the soldiers of this unit, and we have formed a kind of extended family. They have been there to support them in every part of the journey from preparing to deploy, during their duty and when they return.

How rewarding is this work for you?

These local union reps have built a relationship, and they know that we are going to help them out if we can with whatever they need. It touches my heart so much. I’ve always been proud to say that I am a Local 600 member, but this just touches my heart and makes me so proud.

How are you handling the unit’s deployments?

It’s really hard, but knowing that I have such support with all our family, friends and the local has made it a bit more bearable. It doesn’t replace our soldiers being home, but it makes it more manageable. Vice President Jimmy Settles, who directs the union’s Ford Department, and his staff have been a great support. He invited members of the Alpha Company to his golf outing to give these soldiers a day of fun and to remind the community that we still have soldiers fighting.

Gwynne Marie Cobb