What is this National Tradesmen Day and why haven’t I heard about it before?  Well Irwin wanted a way to thank all the men and women who have poured their heart and soul into building this great land.  This is a tradition Irwin started three years ago and it is celebrated on September 20 each year.  Now the reason we are posting about this today instead of September 20, is because this year we had the chance to celebrate it downtown Chicago with Irwin and the tradesmen.  For us, it actually started on September 19 when we went with Irwin to say thanks.  On the 19 we stopped by two different jobs sites where Irwin brought donuts, pizza and passed out some t-shirts to say thank you.  I have to say it was pretty cool seeing the men and women smiling as they walked by.  So is National Tradesmen Day just a way to say thanks, well yes, but it’s more.

National Tradesmen Day is also a way to bring more exposure to the trades.  As time passes, our society has started to push people away from the trades.  I am a prime example.  In high school, some of my favorite classes were woods and automotive.  I was young and really didn’t know any better, but I was told that my next step was college.  I heard it from my parents, my school counselors and others.  Despite the fact that I had begun to enjoy the trades and half of my family is in the trades, I went to college.  During the summers I worked as a labor to pay for school and these were some of my best times in the work force. While it was hard work, it was rewarding.  I had the chance to work with some great people and have a great time.  I was always disappointed when school started back up.  After graduating from school and getting that little piece of paper saying I had student loans, I mean a diploma, I entered the financial industry where I sat behind a desk for eight years.  Eight years was enough for me and I had to get back into the field.  While it has been tough with the economy and starting over from scratch, I can say I am much happier being in the trades than sitting behind a desk.  Well I guess I do still sit behind a desk while I am writing this.  Oh yeah, I recently found out my old high school no longer offers woods or mechanics class.

I know I am not the only one out there who has completed college only to find out they would be much happier if they would have entered the trades.  A tradesman takes talent, it takes skill and it takes dedication.  But this can be one of the most rewarding professions around.  However if kids don’t fully understand how important trades are to this country, how are we ever going to help create a new generation of skilled labor?   Personally, I think we take a lot for granite in this country and the trades isn’t any different.  When was the last time you flushed the toilet and thought to yourself, someone had to know what they were doing and install the plumbing correctly.  When was the last time you took an elevator to another floor and thought someone worked hard in order to make my trip up or down much easier, faster and safer.  When was the last time you took time to realize your house is still standing because someone knew how to read a blue print and put all the pieces together?

It’s interesting because you watch TV and movies.  The actors and actresses are all idolized.  They play parts that glorify certain professions and then other professions are usually dumbed down.  Don’t you usually see a couple guys standing outside whistling at women or something like that in the movies.  Well while this does happen, we rarely see a person in the trades glorified and get to fully understand what he or she does each and every day.  Next time you get a chance to watch Modern Marvel or something on the history channel about the trades and the great people who have built this country, I would suggest you take time and watch so you can understand how important tradesman really are and what they go through each day.  It’s hard work, but very rewarding.

So while National Tradesmen Day is a way to say thanks, it’s also a way to bring attention to a valuable and noble cause.  I think this issue of society getting caught up that you shouldn’t settle for a trades job is a big problem.  That’s why I am happy Irwin, Mike Rowe and John Ratzenberger are bringing this to the front lines.  It’s time to wake up and realize tradesmen are skilled people, where you can make a great living, make a difference, leave a legacy, every day brings something new and really enjoy your profession.