The second of eight children from an immigrant coal mining family in Clinton, Indiana, Sam Masarachia quit high school to help provide for the family after they moved to Indianapolis, hiring in at a saw manufacturing plant. In 1937, he and his coworkers organized a union that negotiated a pay raise, paid holidays, vacations, insurance coverage, and a grievance procedure for employees. The victory convinced Sam of the power of organizing, and he went to work for the Steelworkers Union.
Sam served his country in World War Two, earning four bronze stars in combat in Europe.
When he retired from the Steelworkers in 1968, Sam didn't stop organizing people to fight for social justice. He organized neighbors in Fountain Square and helped to found a senior citizen center that today bears his name. Sam was also a founding member of United Senior Action, Indiana's premier senior advocacy organization, and one of the groups that scholars have an opportunity to intern with.
The Masarachia Scholars are a living tribute to Sam's dedication to labor, senior, and community organizing.