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Thank you for helping members in need

November, 2015

Fall is now upon us, which brings about a time of renewal. We kick off our year when all of our CSEA elected and appointed leaders come together each fall. We call this event the Leadership Initiative. The Board of Directors, State Committees, Regional Representatives and the Retiree Unit Board spent two days together to instill the Power of Us within each other, plan the upcoming year and learn about important issues facing the union. After the September board meeting, we also held our annual board training. I’m proud of all the great work we’ve done already this year and the vital planning we’ve done to positively address the challenges that face our union. 

Speaking of pride, I’m not sure I could be any more proud of the work our union has done to benefit our brothers and sisters in need. When the town of Weed was affected by the Boles fire, not only did our members donate money and gifts for the students who lost everything in the fire, but we also painted the school’s peaceful playground in August. And just recently, when the Butte Fire raged in Amador and Calaveras counties and the Valley Fire scorched Lake County, our members were among the first to arrive at the shelters with supplies, resources and applications for CSEA’s emergency assistance funds. 

You didn’t stop there. Before we even knew that 30 members lost their homes in these fires, and dozens more were displaced during evacuations, you sprung into action with fundraising efforts the likes of which we have never seen. Raffles, collections, potlucks and every great idea in the books brought in thousands of dollars in donations. We have been able to help our members to the tune of almost $60,000 in assistance and the number continues to grow. I am grateful for every penny, and assure you that those in need will sleep a bit better knowing their union is here for them during this crisis. 

We also continue our union’s tradition of thanking and honoring the military veterans who have served our country and now serve our students, schools and communities. Each year, we learn of more CSEA members who have gone from military service to working in our public schools and colleges. Our veterans span all generations, races, genders, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds, but have two things in common: A love of our country and a belief in service to our communities. It doesn’t surprise me to see the ranks of our members swell with military veterans. One only needs to spend a few moments with these women and men to know that there is a dedication to service that burns inside of them and our students benefit greatly by their interactions. Please visit our Veterans Day page to see what you can do to help our students understand the sacrifices these vets have made and the value they bring to our schools and colleges. 

In closing, this is a time to be thankful for the many opportunities that come our way each day. While you may not hear it often enough, please know that your Board of Directors thanks you for the work you do every day. You are educating and helping the leaders of tomorrow, you are providing opportunities for those in your care, and you are giving something special to the students you serve. We wish you a healthy and happy holiday season.

In strength and unity,
Michael Bilbrey


CSEA Board of Directors
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Michael Bilbrey

Association President Michael Bilbrey