Love comes in all forms – people, places and things. Construction and General Laborers Local 563 member Ben Long is lucky enough to have experienced each type of love over the last two years. His story starts around the same time as construction on US Bank Stadium, where he spent countless hours building scaffolding, enabling his union brothers and sisters to create what is now a finished product and home to the Vikings.
Ben put a lot of time and hard work into that stadium, which is reason enough for the Minneapolis landmark to hold a special place in his heart. Due to some special circumstances though, Ben’s love for the structure far exceeds the typical passion others might feel for their work.
On Nov. 14, 2015, Ben professed his love and commitment to his girlfriend Chelsea at the stadium, bringing together the love he had for his work with the love of his life.
“I was so happy and proud to be part of the unique history of the stadium,” said Ben. “I wanted to be the first person to get engaged there, so I made it happen.”
Ben’s special proposal wouldn’t have been possible without the help of his union brothers. Working side by side for 18 months elevates groups of people beyond coworkers, so after confirming his proposal plan, Ben enlisted the help of his foreman Adam (who ended up being a groomsman in his wedding) and coworker Anthony to set everything up. Adam hung a “Chelsea, will you marry me?” banner and sneakily captured photos as Ben got down on one knee in front of Chelsea.
In reflecting back on the day where he connected the many points of love in his life, Ben remembers why he pushed so hard to make this unforgettable moment happen the way it did.
“The view of the city that brought us together, the history of the structure I helped build, the uniqueness of being the first to get engaged there – it was a perfect way to celebrate being part of something greater with the woman I’m now blessed to call my wife,” Ben said.
Ben and Chelsea are now happily married. With the stadium complete, Ben works around various sites hanging swing stages and rigging for cranes to put scaffolds in place. His passion for his union work only continues to grow as he gets more involved. Ben’s latest endeavor is a newly elected role as union delegate to the international convention held every five years.
It’s easy to love your work when the boss takes care of their employees, Ben shared. Our union works hard to ensure all members have what they need to succeed and reach the highest quality standards.
And as far as the scaffold service and the union leadership goes, Ben has never met a more supportive group of individuals.
“They’re the “give you a shirt off their backs’ kind of guys,” said Ben.
It’s one thing to love the work you do. It’s another thing to love a significant other. But incorporating both elements into an unforgettable moment? That is a labor of love built to last.