Virginia Machinists Award Scholarship in Memory of Former IAM Auditor

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Aston Gray, third from right, receives the first Bill Dameron Memorial Scholarship award at the Virginia Machinists Council meeting in Fredericksburg, VA. Bill Dameron’s wife, Kathy, is third from left and is surrounded by Gray’s family.

At the recent Virginia State Council, IAM members gathered to pay tribute to a good friend of the Commonwealth’s Machinists, the late Grand Lodge Auditor Bill Dameron, who passed away in 2012.

“Bill was such an inspiration to so many people,” said Council President and Local 10 Directing Business Representative Russell Wade. “He would volunteer to house-call on organizing, and he was always there for leadership or questions to make sure our financial house was in order. We miss him terribly.”

“We didn’t want our friend and colleague Bill Dameron to be forgotten,” continued Wade. “So the State Council decided to start the Bill Dameron Memorial Scholarship. It will be awarded annually, and we think it’s the perfect thing, and that Bill would love it.”

Dameron’s family awarded the scholarship.

General Secretary-Treasurer Dora Cervantes attended the event, along with Auditing Services Director Jane Tackett and Grand Lodge Auditors Arlene Greenidge and Pat Smutney. Southern Territory General Vice President Mark Blondin also attended. GST Cervantes spoke of her long history working with Dameron and of earning her degree through the National Labor College alongside him.

The first recipient, Aston Gray, comes from an IAM family. Her mother, grandmother and grandfather are members of Local 2355 at Federal Mogul in Blacksburg, VA.

“This is what our union is all about,” said Blondin. “Honoring our past, and those who were great leaders, and using it as a path to a greater future for everyone who works for a living. This is a great way to honor Brother Dameron, as well as a great conference with all our great Machinists from Virginia. It was a great capstone to a great conference.”