In honor of National Rebuilding Day on April 27, thousands of volunteers, corporations and skilled tradespeople banded together to revitalize local communities by working on homes and community centers in need of repair. The effort not only impacts deserving individuals, but communities and the county as a whole—providing value and maintenance to otherwise challenged areas allowing residents improved quality of life and renewed value in one of the largest assets many will ever have.
Paul Hamtil, CR, of Hamtil Construction LLC, based in Herculaneum, Mo., knows the power of charitable rebuilds, lending a hand on several projects through his church each year. Last year, Hamtil joined his fellow NARI of Greater St. Louis chapter members on National Rebuilding Day and was blown away by the difference they had made in a single day. So this year when a friend who serves the affiliate asked him to volunteer again, he didn’t hesitate.
Although the Rebuilding Together St. Louis affiliate is active all year, volunteers come out full force on Rebuilding Day, which
boasted more than 1,000 volunteers and nearly 70 projects total.
“There’s a good energy to the event, where everyone is stepping up and lending a hand,” Hamtil says. “It translates into empowerment, both from the group and the homeowners, who are working so hard in a short amount of time to make an impact.”
Impact definitely describes last Saturday’s efforts. The homeowner from Hamtil’s project was a single-income mother of two who had 32 years worth of deferred maintenance on her home. This resulted in an expansive project list, including:
- painting of the living room, dining room, bathroom, bedroom, hallway and kitchen,
- repair to a back porch that had deteriorated from water damage and needed a handrail,
- replacement of a dysfunctional toilet in the basement and installation of a handrail on stairway.
- installation of a new dryer vent,
- masonry repairs to a chimney with missing stones,
- gutter replacement and
- exterior repair to the entrance of the home, including bush removal, carpeted steps leading into the home, installation of new cement entryway from home to the street, addition of a deadbolt onto the front door.
“There was about 20 jobs listed on a poster board in the morning and about 25 volunteers on the project—everyone stepped up and worked hard to get it done,” Hamtil says.
Hamtil’s job as a skilled tradesperson was to provide training and guidance over the group of volunteers. “My role was less about diving into the work and more about checking in with people and making sure they knew what they were doing and had the necessary tools,” he says.
In a volunteer situation, it’s hard for someone with skills to hold themselves back from getting the work done; however, Hamtil found an unexpected reward in his supervisory role.
“As someone who works in the industry and is accustomed to this type of work, it was beneficial to be able to enable volunteers to have a fulfilling day in giving back—helping others, help someone else.,” Hamtil says. “”
Of course, there are other rewards. “It’s nice when you’re working alongside the homeowners all day, and it feels as though you are inside their life for a day in their home and with the family and see how they will live better because of what you’re doing,” he says. —Morgan Zenner
Did you participate in National Rebuilding Together Day? Share your experience with NARI via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.