A shout out to a 74 year old tall tower climber and Romney supporter

Discussion in 'The Very Best Of...' started by canderson, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. canderson

    canderson Friend of the Community

    High praise, indeed: Mitt Romney banner hung on Willis Tower

    By MICHAEL SNEED msneed@suntimes.com October 15, 2012 11:16PM​
    Mitt Romney got the city’s highest endorsement recently on President Barack Obama’s home turf.

    It was a 110-stories-high sanction atop the Willis (Sears) Tower, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.
    ◆ Translation: John Rukavina, 74, a Local 1 ironworker — who claims to have put up “every antenna and tower in Chicago since Marina Towers in 1974” — affixed a Romney banner as well as an American flag on the ABC antenna on Willis Tower minutes after it was completed Sept. 30.

    “The flag is a symbol — an old ironworker’s custom — which is hung if the job went well,” said Rukavina, who said he worked on the Sears Tower antenna in 1978. He’s also worked on the John Hancock Center and New York’s World Trade Center.

    “I promised my sister, Anna, a year ago I would use the burial flag of her husband, a World War II Navy veteran, when we topped off the antenna,” he told Sneed.

    “But I didn’t tell anyone I was going to put up the Romney poster. I did that on my own and it was hard going. The wind was blowing like crazy that day,” he said. “But I wanted to make that gesture the last thing I did."
    “Hey, I’d jump off a building to get Romney elected.”
    “I can’t stand Bill Clinton, George W. Bush or Obama,” said Rukavina, who worked for ISI Installation Services in Genoa, Ill.

    A 60-year ironworker now living in LaPorte, Ind., Rukavina is also the subject of a film being shot called “Cowboys of the Sky,” a documentary chronicling Rukavina’s work on 20 major antenna installations on the country’s tallest skyscrapers.

    Although the Romney banner and the American flag were taken down shortly after their placement, the entire installation was filmed by a helicopter loaded with a gyro-camera used by Zoo City Productions, directed by Stephen Brown, whose father is a Rukavina pal. Brown has been filming him ever since Rukavina installed the Trump International Hotel and Tower spire. “He had no idea I was going to put up that poster,” Rukavina said.

    “But I had to take everything down because it’s my responsibility to make sure no one gets hurt and the wind could have ripped it loose.”

    So what’s his next project?

    “I get bored. When I was a kid I jumped off a Chicago bridge. So we’ll see what’s next.”
  2. Jerome Levy

    Jerome Levy Industry Observer

    74 and still climbing. You got to hand it to Mr. Rukavina. Especially in Chicago on those buildings where the temperatures are so low in the winter. 60 years in the business must be a record. I wonder if other climbers can even come close. He may be the oldest in this business. The documentary should be great.

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