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It Ain’t Easy Earning Green

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I’ve met more guys in the building trades that raise kids on their own than anywhere else in my life.  That’s how I knew it was possible to do.  I’m a single dad and I have primary custody of my son, Ayden. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the stability I got from working on the L.A. Live project.

Ayden is seven now.  He just started second grade.  Every day after school, I help him with his spelling and sentences.  We do flashcards and memory games. I have him write down a daily paragraph from Kermit the Frog’s song, “It Ain’t Easy Being Green.”

I’ve been out-of-work as an ironworker for over a year — L.A. Live was the last long-term job I had. When I worked on the project, Ayden and I lived in Long Beach.  I didn’t drive and took the Blue Line every day to the Staples Center  When you work construction, you need a specialty babysitter, someone guaranteed to be at your house at 5  a.m.

Earlier this week, I was at the bill signing for Farmers Field with Governor Brown. While we were standing in the hot sun next to L.A. Live, I flashed back to building the man-lift — the hoist on the side of the building — and about 20 stairways inside. I thought about what L.A. Live meant to me and Ayden- the sense of pride I had from earning a day’s wage and going home safe. That stability prepared us for the lean times that laid ahead – the silver lining in the storm we are still weathering. When I think about building a new football stadium and convention center next to L.A. Live, I get a real sense of pride. Since being an Ironworker I’ve set some goals. Building a football stadium has always been one of those things I’ve wanted to do — along with a suspension bridge and space shuttle launch pad.  Since the space program is no longer happening, one out of two isn’t bad.

Farmers Field will not only put us single dads in the trades back to work, this project is going to cover all the bases, putting 23,000 people to work. That doesn’t even include the lunch truck guys!

I’ve been watching football since I was Ayden’s age.  I’ll take any team but Dallas. Of course, being an Ironworker, the Steelers would be my pick.

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