Wally’s Trip to the White House

Local 338 Executive Board Member and Shop Steward Wally Waugh of Stop & Shop in Oyster Bay received an exciting invitation to the White House on behalf of Local 338 essential workers. On July 4th, 2021, the Biden administration organized the “America is Back Together” event, inviting essential workers across many industries to celebrate America’s independence from not only a distant king, but from more recently, the throes of a deadly virus.

During the event, President Biden reiterated that America is in the middle of healing from the worst of the pandemic. Reflecting on the panic and fear we all felt when we were hurdled into unknown dangers of a spreading virus. We now have a safe and effective vaccine, a weapon to combat COVID-19 and therefore a pathway to a conclusion.

As Wally stood beside hundreds of other essential workers from all walks of life; EMTs, firefighters, nurses, doctors, he grew emotional and solemn. His story is one our members know well, serving your community at great risk to you and your family’s health. He heard the stories of other essential workers and began to experience both relief and pain. Wally never considered himself a hero, or his actions as particularly heroic. But throughout the event, he began to change his perspective. He realized there were tremendous sacrifices he and his coworkers made for the sake of his country and community.

Through all the pain, Wally knew he had much to celebrate: the health of his family, of himself, and the end of a traumatic era in American history. Wally says, “I felt incredibly proud. I took in the experience on behalf of my fellow members and knew we’ve been through a great deal. These months have been difficult and painful. But we can feel that it’s almost over.”