DeKalb Business, Industry, & Organizations Join to Break Record
Article by Sue Carpenter | KPC News | June 29, 2019
AUBURN — For the first time in three years, a sunny sky and warm weather greeted volunteers prepared to do good works in the community during Friday’s annual United Way Day of Caring.
Hundreds of blue-shirted team members gathered at the Auburn United Methodist Church to enjoy a hearty breakfast prepared by Dutch Heritage Catering. A record-setting 642 volunteers signed up for 70 projects in the community, according to United Way Executive Director Zach Washler. He equated that to $65,000 worth of volunteer hours contributed back to the community, based on average volunteer pay scale.
Washer said $44,590 was collected in designated donations, plus $37,000-plus in in-kind donations for nearly $115,000 in value put back into DeKalb County.
“Even more important than that are the relationships, the connections and the good works happening today,” Washler said. He noted TFC Canopy and Ashley Industrial Molding joined forces to build a privacy fence for an Auburn woman who is losing her eyesight, who without the fence no longer would be able to stay in her home.
Washler also singled out Walmart Distribution Center volunteers, who already began a landscaping project for the Curiosity Shop in Garrett, which raises money to give back to St. Martin’s Health Care.
“Another great example of what we are doing today, giving back so others can also give back into the community,” he said.
Washler thanked the Auburn United Methodist Church for providing the space to handle the large crowd, crew chiefs, committee members and volunteers.
Day of Caring awards were presented to several teams for the volunteerism and sponsorship.
• Steel Dynamics and Auburn American Legion Post 97 were presented the Golden Hammer Award.
• Silver Screwdriver awards were given to Fetters Construction, Auburn Classic Noon Lions Club, TFC Canopy, Team Quality Services, DeKalb Molded Plastics, Therma-Tru and DeKalb Health.
Sponsors also recognized were Nucor Fastener Division, Ashley Industrial Molding, Eaton Corp., Signature Construction, Auburn Moose, Gibson’s Heating and Air, Color Master Inc., R.P. Wakefield Co. Inc., Noble REMC, Beacon Credit Union, Custom Coating Inc., Charleston Metal Products Inc., Heidtman Steel and Paragon Steel.
Projects assigned in various DeKalb County communities.
A team from SDI Casting completed a ramp-build in Altona to provide senior-friendly front and side entries to a home. Ten other projects were conducted in Garrett, including repair of a home at Ben- Mar Mobile Home Park, raking and leveling stone in a driveway, cleaning gutters, painting decks and sheds, planting flower beds and trimming hedges and power washing and painting a garage door.
Fifteen members of the Garrett High School football team painted the interior of the JAM Center and sealed a wood fence outside; while a team from Garrett-Keyser-Butler schools painted the exterior and an interior meeting room at Alliance Industries; and a team from Walmart Distribution Center removed grass in front and along the side of the Curiosity Shop, put down landscape fabric and covered the area with stone.
Steel Dynamics Inc., DeKalb EMS and Auburn American Legion all helped construct ramps to help others in the community.
A team from Continental AG, formerly Cooper Standard Automotive in Auburn, organized two teams this year, with 15 volunteers painting the three interior offices and other interior areas of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program office on West Fifth Street in Auburn and another team of seven washing walls and painting the conference room at the Butler Public Library.
Continental’s resource director, Candy Parker, said this is the first time in more than a dozen years the company has participated in the Day of Caring. The company recently formed a community and activity committee for opportunities both inside and outside the plant.
In Waterloo, a swarm of 30 volunteers descended on the Quiet Knight Veterans Shelter on Railroad Street. The team included 20 people from Team Quality Services, five from DeKalb Metal Finishing and five from Nucor Fastener.
“We literally cleaned out an entire warehouse from top to bottom,” said Chris Lamm of Quiet Knight. “It’s beyond anything we could have expected.”
Friday marked the sixth time the Day of Caring has helped the Quiet Knight charity.
“It’s been a blessing every year,” Lamm said.
Allie Campbell is the United Way’s Resource Coordinator. Day of Caring co-chairs are Steve Smith and Jeff Frigo.
Day of Caring committee member Shirley Johnson and director of RSVP shared her own story of volunteerism.
“From the very time Day of Caring started, it has been very important to help those in need in our own neighborhoods and in our own backyards. It takes a village, and we all know that we should do to others as we would have them do for you. And so that is one of the big reasons we have done this. I am really, really glad to see all of you here.”
Following breakfast and before setting out into the community, a group photo was taken by a drone camera in the church lawn.