We often say we’re in this business to help shape the community we live in. It’s this pride that drives our philanthropic work like Clays for a Cause, Hometown Heroes, and Builders Care. So we were all in when we heard the inspiring work of the Emergency Services and Homeless Coalition of St. Johns County (ESHC) during a meeting with the St. Johns Builders Council (SJBC).
“When we heard about their vision, I was just so inspired,” said Seth Kelley, Vice President of Purchasing for MasterCraft Builder Group and SJBC Board Chairperson. “ESHC was working to create a well-manicured campus with housing and vital family services. They wanted to build real community ownership and pride in the project. It became a personal mission that I wanted to make sure succeeded.”
When the SJBC Board and Kelley heard about the project, ESHC was in the process of rehabilitating several old homes on their West Augustine campus. The group voted to “adopt” one of the homes, beginning work in October 2022. What started as cosmetic repairs became a full-blown rehab. The 100-year-old house, originally built to house railroad workers, needed a lot of work. The SJBC received donations of materials, labor, and expertise from suppliers, tradespeople, and parent organization, the Northeast Florida Builders Association (NEFBA). The project was completed, and the house became a home when it received its first tenants on June 28th.
SJBC completed over $53,000 worth of work on the property. However, the actual cost was only a fraction of what it could have been thanks to the work of volunteers, donated materials, and the persistence of Kelley. The costs were so minimal, in fact, that the NEFBA and the SJBC were able to provide over $11,000 in additional funding to the ESHC to support their mission to help those in need.
“We couldn’t have completed this project without the support of over 36 building partners and members,” said Kelley. “If we asked, they said yes – nobody ever said no. Especially Jackie and Parker Rowland with Russell Rowland; Mitch Szymczyk with Tri-State Builders; Justin Shonk with Gleckler and Sons Construction and Building Materials; Jamie Warrington with Builders FirstSource; and Steve Brogdon with Brogdon Builders – they were all so generous. I’m extremely proud and humbled by this experience.”