Labor Day picnic honors workforce

The United Steelworkers Local Alaska 4959 and Skyview High School hosted a Labor Day picnic and barbecue Monday to celebrate the Kenai Peninsula workforce.

"The workforce is the backbone of the United States economy," Skyview Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Eric Pomerleau said. "Any chance we get to sit down and get together and enjoy the hard work that everyone's done, it's just a good time for everybody."

Skyview athletic teams helped out at the event that featured many activities, including a punt-pass-and-kick competition, home run derby, Zumba, volleyball and firehose target practice - not to mention free food, live music and door prizes.

"The Skyview athletic teams basically have provided the labor for us," said Loren Hollers, one of the organizers of the event who represents the United Steelworkers. "They're the ones that are manning the games, they helped set up the tents."

Hollers said the event was put on by the United Steelworkers, which is a union that represents about 350 employees on the North Slope that work for BP.

Hollers said the union wanted to reach out to the Peninsula communities.

"We have a lot of workers on the slope that are from this area," he said.

Adam Link, 35, is a pipe fitter for Udelhoven on the Peninsula and a life-long Peninsula resident. He said it was important to honor the workforce for all it does.

"If you don't have a workforce, then you don't have anything," he said. "It takes a workforce to do everything - to build a house to build a road, to serve food - that's all the workforce."

Melody Derflinger said she enjoyed the picnic because of what it offered to the community.

"I think it's great to have a day where everyone can come out and enjoy," she said. "There's free food and watermelon. I think it's awesome that Skyview was able to offer the facilities but also participate in helping out."

"The football and volleyball teams took time to work for the communities."

Derflinger's husband, Shane, is a supervisor for Peak Oil Services. He echoed her thoughts.

"I think it's a good thing," Shane said. "I really appreciate the fact that they are promoting American-made."

The theme of the event was "Honoring America's workforce by shopping local and buying ‘Made in the USA.'"

When Pomerleau was asked what could be accomplished with this event, he had a simple answer.

"I think just an enjoyment, and a good coming-together community event. We're just having a picnic, I don't think there's any major purpose besides enjoying and celebrating the workforce of the Kenai Peninsula."

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