Rotary builds for the community

Members of the Morgan Hill Rotary teamed up with Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley to paint the home of Tom Hernandez, free of charge. Hernandez, who suffers from a bad back and who couldn’t afford the paint, was amazed and grateful for the work.

On Oct. 27 the Morgan Hill Rotary teamed up with Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley to pull up their sleeves and get some work done helping local homeowners make needed repairs. Together with hundreds of other volunteers in the area, they worked to rehabilitate a local home, free of cost. For homeowner Tom Hernandez of Morgan Hill, the difference was night and day.

“This saved me a lot of time and a lot of money,” said Hernandez. “My plan was to do it over a couple of years, a few sections at a time, but I’m 63; I have a bad back and a bad ankle.”

The Morgan Hill Rotary gained an advance idea of potential projects in the community, and decided which one to work on based on how many volunteers they could enlist and the nature of the project. On Saturday, they repainted a home at a mobile home park off Burnett Avenue. Of the 18 volunteers working that day, seven were Rotarians.

“Part of Rotary is service above self,” Rotarian Judy Henry said. “I like to get down and dirty to do this stuff.”

Lynn Alens, a house captain volunteer with Rebuilding Together, was on scene to help with the painting. While looking for a volunteer opportunity, Alens decided to work with Rebuilding Together following some time with Habitat With Humanity.

“If you took a picture of the house this morning and compared it to right now, it would be night and day,” said Alens, a contractor from Campbell.

The painting project was one of the Rotary’s more straightforward projects since it didn’t require work on the home’s interior. Other projects aren’t as simple.

“The one we did in April in this park, we had to redo the stairs and replace toilets. It just depends on the scope of the project,” Henry said.  

Rebuilding Together is a nonprofit organization founded in 1973 in Midland, Texas, where a small group of volunteers came together to help people in their community repair homes that had fallen into disrepair. Homes that qualify are typically owned by elderly, disabled and/or lower-income residents. Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley was formed in 1991, and since its foundation, the organization helped to rehabilitate nearly 3,000 homes.

“To some people it’s overwhelming; they can’t imagine 20 people coming to work on their house for a day,” Alens said. “The response you get from the people you’re helping is very rewarding.”

It was a day of service in Gilroy as well, where the Gilroy Rotary Club did some work on homes on Murray Avenue.

Several local businesses chipped in to help with donated pizza from Little Caesar’s and Starbucks coffee.  

In recognition for her volunteer work, Henry was awarded a necklace made of cut PVC pipe rings gifted by Rotarian Roger Knopf. For her, the work is done with love for Morgan Hill.

I just point the finger and tell people where to go,” said Henry while on her lunch break.

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