'A man who cared'
Fort Meade dedicates building in memory of local union leader
Story and photo by Brandon Bieltz
On Oct. 18, the building was renamed in memory of the man who led the union for more than two decades. Lonnie W. Howie served as president of Local 1622 AFGE from 1989 to 2011.
"When my grandmother told me that the union hall would be named after him, I couldn't help but smile," said Qiana Gabriel, Howie's granddaughter, during the ceremony. "You guys all love and respect my grandfather the way our family loves and respects my grandfather."
Garrison Commander Col. Edward C. Rothstein also spoke at the 20-minute ceremony, calling Howie a "man who cared."
"He cared and loved his community so much to work with the union and make things happen," Rothstein said.
Howie, a native of Baltimore, was a member of the Air Force and the Army, and served in both the Korean Conflict and the war in Vietnam. After his military career, Howie entered the civil service at Fort Meade, where he served in a number of positions including property book officer and management analyst.
"Lonnie spent his entire adult life serving others," said Joseph Flynn, AFGE 4th District vice president. "He served in the military defending our freedom and security. As a Department of Defense worker, he served our armed forces in keeping them prepared and ready."
In 1989, Howie was elected president of Local 1622 AFGE. As union president, Howie served on the negotiating team, managed grievances, advocated on behalf of union members, and counseled employees.
Even after retiring from Fort Meade in 2004 after 25 years of civilian service, Howie continued to serve as union president until 2011.
Howie died of cancer on Feb. 20, 2011 at the age of 72.
"It's good that we honor the memory of Lonnie Howie the way we do today," Flynn said. "I know that he's with us, smiling like only Lonnie could."
In addition to garrison leaders and a representative from the office of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, several members of Howie's family -- including his wife, Alba, -- attended last week's ceremony to see the words "Howie Hall" on the side of the union hall.
During her brief remarks, Gabriel spoke for the family.
"To me, Howie was the definition of a man," Gabriel said. "He took care of his wife, he took care of his family and he worked hard. He didn't work hard for recognition; he worked hard for the satisfaction of doing a good job. ...
"The family and I would like to thank you for lifting up Howie and honoring him and naming the union hall after him."
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