Local 440 sends 600 care packages to deployed troops

Local 440 sends 600 care packages to deployed troops

Since 2013, Plumbers, Steamfitters and HVACR Service Technicians Local 440, Indianapolis, has spearheaded an event called, “Fill the Foxhole.”

This event was created by Ralph “Boomer” and Alice Culver, with a mission to ship care packages to deployed troops during the holiday season. 

When Boomer was a Local 440 instructor, he raised money for this cause by setting out old water bottles by the vending machines at the union hall and asking the apprentices to drop their spare change in them. 

That first year, Local 440 apprentices sent 50 boxes to deployed troops with that spare change. In 2014, Local 440 set up donation cans at the Hall and was able to fill and send 100 boxes. 

In 2015, the Local escalated efforts by asking the membership to donate through various events and fundraisers, and 300 boxes were shipped.

Now, Local 440 holds a Motorcycle Ride, a Golf Tournament, a Texas Hold ‘Em Poker Tournament and a silent auction annually to help fund Fill the Foxhole. 

In 2017, the event gained traction when Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett spoke at the opening ceremony, Reveille was played, representatives from the military were present and Santa made an appearance. With the help of many volunteers, 440 boxes were filled that year. 

Local 440 shipped 600 boxes with help from The American Legion Post 500 in 2019. They continue to be one of Local 440’s forever partners for Fill the Foxhole, hosting the poker tournament every year. 

The COVID-19 pandemic stopped everything in its tracks in 2020, but in 2021, Local 440 made the event happen again, and the apprentices pre-packed 600 boxes. 

“We had limited attendance, a vaccine mandate and a small event to put shipping labels and postage on boxes,” Local 440 Business Manager Don Bough said.

On Nov. 19, 2022, Local 440 met its goal and filled 600 boxes. Volunteers included Local 440 members and their families, members from other UA Locals, area politicians and members from other trade unions. 

Among the over 150 volunteers were Mayor Joe Hogsett, UA Assistant General President Mike Pleasant, UA International Representative Robbie Johnson and Training Specialist Mike Hazard who heads the UA Veterans in Piping program.  

Each care package contains snacks, personal hygiene items and letters and pictures from grade-school children across the Indianapolis area. Some care packages included notes that said, “Sorry you can’t be with your family,” and “You’re my hero.”

“We do it because the men and women who protect our freedom around the globe deserve our gratitude and a little bit of love from home for the holidays,” Bough said. 

Hazard said he was impressed how much support this event had and knows first hand that receiving a care package while on deployment during the holidays has a huge impact on the morale of a service member. 

“It’s not just a boost on the day the package arrives, but often items get stashed away to be enjoyed for days or weeks,” Hazard said. “It can truly bring a much needed repreive from tough times – many times over.’

Every year, the biggest challenge is receiving addresses of enough service members to send the packages to. 

Help Local 440 reach its goals 

Local 440 Business Agent Gary Beaman created a partnership with the USO (United States Organizations) to guarantee that if a package is sent to an address and no one is there to receive it, it gets sent to another service member. 

Master Sgt. Daniel Bozarth, an Indiana Army National Guard stationed overseas, wrote a thank you letter after receiving a box. In his letter, he mentioned his grandfather, Everett Bozarth, was a retired 62-year member of Local 440 and it was nice to be reminded of him and the fond memories they had attending Local 440 events together. 

Local 440’s goal for next year’s Fill the Foxhole is 1,000 boxes. 

“We want to reach everybody that we can,” Bough said. “We’re discussing with the folks at the USO to make sure that if we increase the number of boxes, we have the addresses to send them to more troops.”

Anyone interested in supporting this great event, can donate, sponsor, volunteer or become a vendor by visiting the website at If you have a family member or know of any UA members in the military, please send an address to Local 440 for next year’s event.