ST. LOUIS, Aug. 18 – IATSE Local 6 Stagehands based in St. Louis, has made a $1,000 contribution to the Wounded Marines Careers Foundation (WMCF) in honor of retiring IATSE President Emeritus Thomas C. Short. John T. Beckman, Jr., Ninth Vice President of the IA and Business Agent of Local 6, was so impressed by the presentation made by the WMCF at the IA’s Mid-Summer General Executive Board Meeting in San Diego on July 28, that he put the proposal of a donation in front of the Local’s membership, where it got immediate and unanimous support.
The WMCF is a first-of-its-kind career training and job placement program for Marines and Navy Corpsmen wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, and provides new and marketable professional skills for careers in media following their rehabilitation. Classes in media, filmmaking, sound design, editing, writing, graphics and photojournalism were taught by members of various IA Locals and guest lecturers. Nineteen students completed the 10-week course and graduated on March 20, 2008. All 19 were inducted into the IATSE at the presentation on July 28, at which time they presented an 8-minute video about the program that was written, shot, and edited by the students.
The presentation received a standing ovation by the General Executive Board, International Representatives and numerous IA Local representatives in attendance. The presentation also marked the debut of SEMPER FIlms, the production company subsidiary of the WMCF, which will produce documentary, promotional, industrial, and commercial projects, including the making of Electronic Press Kits for major studio features and television programs.
WMCF co-founders Kevin Lombard, a member of Local 600 whose father was a WWII Marine, and Judith Paixao, have set up the 5000 sq. ft. training center north of San Diego at Stu Segall Studios. The program is the only veterans educational facility nationwide that has earned Apple Training Certification. The next class begins this fall.