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Another Disaster, Another Union Hero: IUPAT Member Saves Lives in Austin Plane Attack

When Robin Dehaven saw a small plane heading for a building in Austin, he sprang to action. The Army veteran was on his way to replace windows on his job when he changed course and helped rescue five people from the burning building.

“I immediately drove my truck over there, got the ladder off, went up to the side of the building and I saw people up on the second floor with their heads out the window for air because the room was filled with smoke,” Dehaven said.

Dehaven extended his ladder up to the stranded workers and tried to instruct them on how to secure it, but they were unable to. So, rather than have them climb down an unsecure ladder, he climbed up.

“I climbed inside the broken-out window into the building with them,” said Dehaven, who has a 3-year-old son.

With the help of one of the men inside, he then broke another window near a ledge, and secured the ladder there so he could get five people out safely.

“I held onto their waists and their backs so they wouldn’t fall if they slipped,” he said.

The kicker? Dehaven is a proud member of IUPAT, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades; specifically, Local Union 1778/District Council 88. From IUPAT:

The men and women of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades praise IUPAT member Robin De Haven for putting aside all concerns for his personal safety and rescuing five people from that burning building in Austin. His actions were nothing short of heroic and we’re proud to have him in our ranks. A veteran who served in Iraq, the IUPAT was fortunate to bring him aboard through the Helmets to Hardhats program.

Robin’s courage and character are a shining inspiration in these hard times. I hope his actions remind us all of what is most dear in our lives, and how important it is to take care of each other. Robin De Haven is a prime example of what a good union man is made of.

Dehaven joins the ranks of other Union Member Heroes who answer the call of duty when disaster strikes, including Captain Sully, member of US Airline Pilots Association and the Searfarers International Union-affiliated crew of the Maersk Alabama against Somali pirates.

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Michael Whitney

Michael Whitney

My name is Michael Whitney. I'm a progressive online organizer working with FDL Action. Rush Limbaugh called me "clueless" once. He went into rehab two days later.