APWU Establishes Fund for Shooting Victims' Families
The APWU has established a memorial fund to benefit the families of APWU members who were killed Jan. 30 in the shootings at the Santa Barbara P&DC in Goleta, CA.
Donations can be made by check or money order and mailed to: APWU Memorial Fund, Human Relations Department, 1300 L St. NW, Washington, DC 20005. One hundred percent of the donations will be distributed to the immediate families of the slain APWU members.
“We encourage APWU members to contribute to the fund,” said APWU President William Burrus, “and to continue to give prayers and other support to the victims’ families and to the postal workers who have suffered.” To express the solidarity of APWU members, Burrus joined Postmaster General John E. Potter, representatives of the Mail Handlers Union and the Postal Supervisors, and APWU Western Region Coordinator Omar Gonzalez in Santa Barbara shortly after the tragedy.
The APWU members who died were Charlotte Colton, Ze Fairchild, Nicola Grant, Dexter Shannon, and Guadalupe Swartz.
Charlotte Colton, 44, was buried in services held Feb. 3. She is survived by James Richard Colton, her husband of 16 years, and their three sons. She had worked at the Santa Barbara facility – where she met her husband – for 23 years. Several co-workers remembered Mrs. Colton as someone who gave tirelessly to her fellow employees, whether in the workplace in her duties as a trainer, or after hours, when she was never without a camera and enjoyed helping others with their family photo albums.
At funeral services Feb. 4, Ze Fairchild, 37, was remembered by family, friends, and co-workers as a selfless woman who improved the lives of all those around her. Since 1989, she had worked in the Santa Barbara plant, where she met her future husband, Joe Fairchild. They were married 12 years; their son, Nicholas, was born in 1998.
Nicola “Nikki” Grant, 42, is survived by Andrew James Grant, her husband of 23 years, and their three children. In a letter to the Santa Barbara News Press, Rabbi Yosef Loschak wrote about his synagogue’s frequent use of the P&DC and how “Nikki was extremely courteous, friendly and helpful ... ready and willing to serve us with a pleasant smile.” Mrs. Grant’s funeral services have been set for Feb.10.
Thirty-six-year USPS veteran Dexter Shannon, 58, was born in Tulsa, OK, and enlisted in the Air Force at age 17. He served four years in Vietnam, then moved to California, where he began his long association with the Postal Service. He is survived by his wife and five children. (Mr. Shannon’s final arrangements had not been made as of Feb. 7.)
Guadalupe Swartz, 52, had worked at the plant for about 25 years. She is survived by two children. A neighbor described Mrs. Swartz as “a special lady, kindhearted and a good friend,” who was just emerging from a dark period after losing her husband, Donald, to cancer three years ago. Mrs. Swartz’s funeral mass was set for Feb. 10.
A community memorial service is set for Feb. 12. The Postal Service will take part in that event and has been allowing all Goleta employees to attend the victims’ funerals, which are being paid for by the USPS. Letters of condolence to the families of the slain postal employees should be sent directly to the Santa Barbara Post Office, PO Box 24006, Santa Barbara, CA 93121-4006.
Local and state organizations can donate to the APWU fund from their treasuries provided that all constitutional provisions are adhered to. Questions should be directed to Human Relations Director Sue Carney, at 202-842-4271.