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Ted Fotopoulos joined the US Army out of high school and served two deployments to Iraq. After his five-years of service in the military police, he transitioned back to civilian life and began working as a carpenter before starting a landscaping business, and later becoming a welder.
“When I got out of the military, I worked in construction, nonunion. I worked some other jobs, but I didn’t see a real future in it,” Ted said. “Then I had a couple of children and realized I needed something better for my future, for me and for them.”
He wanted everything a career as a union carpenter offered: the opportunity to add high-quality workmanship to his existing skillset, a steady paycheck and great benefits that ensured stability for his family. Above all, he wanted to work and raise his family in Middletown where he grew up.
As an apprentice in Local 279, Ted says he recognizes and appreciates similarities between union construction and his military service.
“I like moving around, doing physical work and working as a team. And in the union there’s more camaraderie on the jobsite than when I worked nonunion. You feel like it’s more of a tight-knit group, like it is in the military.”
While all carpenters feel pride in the work they do, Fotopoulos was given a special opportunity when he was able to work on a project at the US Mint in West Point, close to the US Military Academy.
“West Point is an incredibly historic place that has been so vital to our nation for so long. Having had the privilege to work there as a union carpenter and a veteran is something, I take a great amount of pride in.”