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Vice Presidents Gil Gore, Cole Davis deliver farewell speeches

LAS VEGAS, October 3 — BLET National Vice President Gil Gore and National Vice President Cole Davis delivered emotional farewell speeches this morning during the BLET’s Fourth National Convention. Both men will retire effective December 31, 2018.

Gore’s railroad career began in 1973, when he hired out as a fireman on the Texas and Pacific Railroad on July 26th. He earned promotion to locomotive engineer in December of 1973. Brother Gore represented the membership in all facets of union work including arbitration regarding discipline, protection, and work rules. Gore joined BLET Division 193 in Gretna, La., on February 1, 1974, and is a Union Pacific locomotive engineer. The past 44 years of his life have been devoted to serving the Brotherhood and its members.

Vice President Gore served Division 193 as Local Chairman for 20 years from 1980 to 2000. He was elected Vice General Chairman of the Union Pacific-Southern Region GCA in 1986, an office held until 1998. In 2000, he was elected to the General Chairman’s position on the UP-SR GCA, which he held until his elevation to Vice President in 2009.

He was elected to the position of Fourth-Alternate Vice President at the BLET’s First Quadrennial Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2006. He eventually worked his way up to the first-alternate vice president position, and was promoted to the Advisory Board on December 17, 2009. He was elected by acclamation to serve as National Vice President at the BLET’s Second National Convention in October of 2010, and was reelected by acclamation to another term of office at the BLET’s Third National Convention on October 1, 2014.

“What an honor it is to address this great body one last time,” Vice President Gore said. “There’s one common thread that runs through you, me and all BLET members nationwide. It has the strength of titanium but is flexible enough to bind us all together despite our diverse culture and backgrounds. You cannot see it, cannot touch it, and it cannot be heard. But it manifests itself every day when you pass a friendly word, share a kindness, or pass along a heartfelt thank you to someone who gives you a hand. That one common thread I speak about is the spirit of Brotherhood. That spirit dwells in me, you, and all of our Brothers and Sisters throughout the United States. It’s the same spirit displayed by 13 brave engineers in 1863 who founded our great Brotherhood 155 years ago. And if we continue to grow that spirit of Brotherhood, it’ll see us through all the challenges that lie ahead. If we continue to nurture that spirit, I see nothing but positives for our Brotherhood’s future.”

Vice President Gore thanked his wife, Denise, his children and their spouses, and his grandchildren.

Vice President Davis began his railroad career in 1968 when he hired out as summer help for the Norfolk & Western Railroad. In 1970, he hired out as a switchman for the N&W in Moberly, Mo. He transferred to road service as a brakeman two years later and then transferred to engine service in 1974.

During his farewell address, Vice President Davis said he earned $23 per day early in his career, but that his pay and benefits steady increased over the years thanks to the strong labor movement in the railroad industry. He also described poor cab conditions that existed when he first transferred into engine service, including high noise levels, poor braking systems, and lack of air conditioning.

Vice President Davis has been a proud member of the Brotherhood for nearly 35 years, joining Division 86 on January 1, 1984. Throughout his career he has served as Vice Local Chairman, Local Chairman, Vice General Chairman, and General Chairman.

He was elected by acclamation to his first term as National Vice President at the BLET’s Second National Convention in 2010, and was reelected by acclamation to his second term at the Third National Convention in 2014. Prior to his election to the BLET Advisory Board, Vice President Davis served as General Chairman of the Norfolk Southern (Northern Lines), Wheeling & Lake Erie and Chicago, Ft. Wayne & Eastern General Committee of Adjustment.

Vice President thanked his wife, Denise, and their children for their unwavering support over the years. The couple celebrated their 41st wedding anniversary on October 1, 2018. He also thanked members of the BLET Advisory Board and all the General Chairmen and officers he has worked with over the years.

“I could not walk away without acknowledging the many people who have helped me over the last 48 years,” Vice President Davis said. “These men and the guys like them are what makes the BLET such a special organization. They are also part of what makes it so hard to leave.”

Additional news updates, photographs and videos will be provided at the BLET’s convention website and Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018
bentley@ble-t.org

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