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  • Writer's pictureLocal 685 Executive Board

A Message from Local 685 President Hans Liang

Greetings Local 685 Members,

It has come to our attention that someone has anonymously posted a flyer in Los Padrinos (LP) telling staff to not show up to work and “Call Out.” Whoever put up those signs is basically telling each and every one of you to “put your own wants before the needs of your co-workers – and before those of the minors in our care.” If you are able and don’t show up, you are saying, “I don’t care that my coworkers are going to work alone when there should be a team standing by their side.”

Sisters and Brothers, I want to make it clear that Local 685 does NOT support this and we always encourage members to show up for their scheduled shifts. Calling out creates an unsafe environment for your co-workers and for the youth – JUST SHOW UP!!!

And for those of you who show up consistently, who show what dedication and accountability means – even in the face of tremendous challenges such as the riot at LP this past weekend – you are AFSCME STRONG. You are the model of what an AFSCME Union member values: Dedication, Commitment, and Pride in our work. As AFSCME members, we never quit!

Many of us have badges that are old. For me, every time I look at my badge I’m reminded that I’m part of something bigger; I am part of a group of people who have sworn an Oath:

“I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter..."


What does the saying ”safety in numbers” mean? According to Merriam-Webster, “safety in numbers” means “a better chance of avoiding harm or danger.” This is simple. So when did it get so complicated?

Let’s examine the experience of Master Sergeant Raul Perez "Roy" Benavidez…

“On May 2, 1968, a 12-man Special Forces patrol, which included nine Montagnard tribesmen, was surrounded by an NVA infantry battalion of about 1,000 men. Benavidez heard the radio appeal for help and boarded a helicopter to respond. Armed only with a knife, he jumped from the helicopter carrying his medical bag and ran to help the trapped patrol. Benavidez "distinguished himself by a series of daring and extremely valorous actions... and because of his gallant choice to join voluntarily his comrades who were in critical straits, to expose himself constantly to withering enemy fire, and his refusal to be stopped despite numerous severe wounds, saved the lives of at least eight men."

“At one point in the battle an NVA soldier accosted him and stabbed him with his bayonet. Benavidez pulled it out, drew his own knife, killed him, and kept going, leaving his knife in the NVA soldier's body. He later killed two more NVA soldiers with an AK-47 while providing cover fire for the people boarding the helicopter. After the battle, he was evacuated to the base camp, examined, and thought to be dead. As he was placed in a body bag among the other dead in body bags, he was suddenly recognized by a friend who called for help. A doctor came and examined him but believed Benavidez was dead. The doctor was about to zip up the body bag when Benavidez managed to spit in his face, alerting the doctor that he was alive. Benavidez had a total of 37 separate bullet, bayonet, and shrapnel wounds from the six-hour fight with the enemy battalion.

“Benavidez was evacuated once again to Fort Sam Houston's Brooke Army Medical Center, where he eventually recovered. He received the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism and four Purple Hearts. In 1969, he was assigned to Fort Riley, Kansas. In 1972, he was assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he remained until retirement.” (Source: Wikipedia)


No one could be expected to rise to the level that Benavidez did on that fateful day. But if we all just had an ounce of what he had, we would be OK. It’s time we all find our inner Benavidez to make it through these tough times – the Oath we have taken demands no less from each and every one of us.


Hans Liang


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