DRIF Mourns National Board Member Mark Ayers, BCTD President of the AFL-CIO

HOLLYWOOD, FL (April 17, 2012) – With great sadness, the Diabetes Resaerch Institute and Foundation mourns the loss of a dear friend and National Board member, Mark H. Ayers.  He was the president of the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), which is the largest contributor to the organization. 

Mark was a labor leader of vision, innovation, passion and integrity, and it was through his leadership that North America’s Building Trades Unions were on the path to success and increased market share for the union construction industry.

Although our hearts are heavy, our spirits are lifted by virtue of the unsullied legacy of a working man who was grounded and guided to his core through the values that were instilled in him during his upbringing in Peoria, IL. Mark was a true trade unionist in every sense of the word, and it was through that commitment to bettering the lives of working families that he was able to offer so much to his country, his family, and to the labor movement.

Mark’s dedication to the Diabetes Research Institute was also strong-felt and unwavering.  He subscribed to a belief that “tough times never last, but tough people do,” and when the economy took a downturn, Mark announced that the BCTD would reconfirm its support with a gift of $5 million in 2010.  He was resolute when he said of their tireless support, “We’ve come too far to turn back now.”

“Mark was a good friend and a great leader,” said Robert A. Pearlman, president and CEO of the DRI Foundation.  “He led with vision and honesty, and he will remain in our hearts for a long time to come.  Our thoughts are with his family and so many others who loved and respected him.”

Read the obituary from The Washington Post here.

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