After 15 years of serving the community’s at-risk youth, the Barr House at the San Mar Children’s Home in Boonsboro, Md., was long overdue for renovations and a fresh coat of paint. John Crawford, sales manager of Rentals Unlimited, Hagerstown, Md., noticed the wear and tear while touring the facility and contacted Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) Cumberland Valley Chapter to pitch the idea of a home makeover.
 
Crawford brought Brock Merwin of Paul Davis Restoration on board as project manager, and went door to door asking ABC member companies for their support and participation. Along the way, he discovered “there are a lot of ABC members out there with big hearts who are willing to help.” 

In addition to the help of Rentals Unlimited, Home Depot and other community members, Waynesboro Construction, Frederick, Md., Beaver Mechanical, Callas Contractors and Ellsworth Electric—all based in Hagerstown, Md.—donated materials, skilled labor and time to the project. With so many dedicated companies getting involved, volunteers successfully completed the job in just 24 hours—a tough deadline proposed by Kathie Sandifer, an estimator for Waynesboro Construction, in order to surprise the Barr House residents while they were away at a camp. 

With such a tight window to work, the project required a lot of manpower and community support. Volunteers got a head start at night by removing the carpets and steam cleaning the bathroom in preparation for the next day. Throughout the day, about 100 people showed up to do everything from painting to installing light fixtures.

“Everyone I saw was glad to be there and doing the work,” Crawford says. “There is no better morale booster for employees than doing these projects.”

Upon their return, the residents were treated to new carpet, doors, paint and furniture. “When the girls came back, you just saw them light up,” Crawford says. 

The results exceeded everyone’s expectations, and the ABC Cumberland Valley Chapter and companies from the surrounding community used their skills to provide a more comfortable environment for the young women living at San Mar. 

“We try to instill in the girls that they have value and are important,” says San Mar Development and Marketing Officer Daniel Day. “A pleasant environment helps us get that message to them.”