In Service to Others, In Service to You
I often get asked for my “Rebuilding Together story”. In the last 8 years I have been a volunteer, supporter, donor, house captain, board member and now board president. I work for a wholesale building supply company so I have been approached by every housing not for profit over the last 20 years. The main thing I have learned is that most organizations share a similar mission, but they each have their own way of accomplishing that mission. It is the execution of the mission that led me to get involved with Rebuilding Together Dutchess County. As is quite common in my line of work, I was approached by the current program manager, Wyeth, years ago and asked to donate some materials. However, when I asked what he needed he responded, “Can you meet me in Pine Plains tomorrow? I would like to show you.” It was there that I met the elderly widow of a veteran who had been living on her own for years without insulated windows, a proper railing on her front steps and a basement that flooded among other issues. I was not asked for money or even a list of products. After our meeting, I was left with a “let me know what you are comfortable doing.” I was also left with an invitation to come out and volunteer on the project to see firsthand how RTDC works as an organization.
Now unfortunately, I could not make it there on the day the volunteers went to work at the house. I did get an invitation from Wyeth to come back after and see the difference that was made and from that moment I was hooked. Since then, I have helped several families with a team of friends and colleagues. Everything from the 90-year-old widow, a family with five children, two different veterans, the House of Hope, to a shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence (yes, we help other not for profits stay warm, safe, and dry as well). What Rebuilding Together does is almost surreal, you can truly come out and help change the course of a family’s life in a single day. I have witnessed roof replacements for veterans and seniors who the day before were emptying garbage cans full of water in the middle of the night, and have helped remodel bathrooms to make them handicapped accessible. I have seen teams of 30 plus volunteers spend their Saturday helping families they have never met before, but will certainly see again, because for any Rebuilding Day I have ever been on all the volunteers leave as family.
That is the main thing that drew me in. -Please do not get me wrong - all not for profits are important and do great work. But with Rebuilding Together it’s not just writing a check or donating some material. It can be, if that’s what you’re looking for, but for me it was the opportunity to know I made a difference that would not have happened otherwise. It’s the feeling of putting in a hard day’s work that will benefit a family for years. It is seeing their kids smile when they run into you in town and the hope that they will grow up and say I want to do what those people did for me. If you think about all the layers of impact that the small fraction of time you put in can have and get to see that difference firsthand. you will be hooked. I can’t imagine waking up in the middle of the night to change out full buckets of water because my roof leaks so badly. Hopefully if you have kept reading this far you will join me in supporting Rebuilding Together. Join us at whatever level you are comfortable it could be a 5-dollar donation or you could come out and run a project. Who knows, I never expected eight years ago I would be signing emails “Board President”.
Board President RTDC