Eganville – Home Depot believes in giving back to the communities that support it and last Thursday that philosophy was on full display as over 50 employee volunteers joined forces for a major renovation project at Camp Smitty on Mink Lake.
The Home Depot team was joined by representatives of its suppliers, as well as local contractors who are customers of the Pembroke location who donated their time and skills to the Team Depot reno project.
Tammie Tubman, assistant manager of the Home Depot in Pembroke, explained Home Depot’s involvement in the project started when representatives of the Boys and Gils Club of Ottawa reached out to one of Home Depot’s commercial managers, Oksana Sikorski.
“They needed some paint refreshers and some parts of the decks replaced,” she said. “They reached out to Oksana, and she reached out to the stores, so the whole Ottawa district is here.
“There are 10 stores participating in giving the Boys and Girls Campa little bit of a facelift,” she added.
Ms. Tubman noted the owner and staff of Whitewater Contracting and Reynolds Renos were volunteering as well.
“They’re great customers of the Pembroke Home Depot, we love them dearly,” she remarked.
She noted their paint wholesaler, Behr, provided all the stain for the job, as well as personnel. Stella Jones donated the pressure-treated lumber for the boards in the lattice, and Wooster, who donated all the paint applicators required. Peak Products joined in by donating all the deck brackets to replace the benches on the decks.
“So, it’s a large scale project,” she said. “The Community Investment Team of Home Depot
also have donated $4,000 to go into other materials for other jobs to be completed.”
The volunteers arrived at 9 a.m. and remained on site until they ran out of materials.
Ms. Tubman said they had done a pre-work visit to the camp with camp manager Matt Singer and another Home Depot commercial manager, Tim Landry.
“Tim determined what was required to be replaced so that we could get those materials donated.”
Ms. Tubman grew up on Mink Lake and knows some of the history of the camp.
“I used to bring the fishing boat over as a kid and come and play with the kids on this side because we were just across the way,” she said.
Ms. Sikorski and Mr. Landry spearheaded the project after learning of the camp’s needs.
“One of Home Depot’s main values is giving back to the community and doing Team Depot events is a way to give back to the community, to the Boys and Girls Club in this instance,” Ms. Sikorski said.
“All the material, all the labour, what have you, came out of Home Depot and our vendors, so there is no cost to Camp Smitty.
“And obviously, we’re having fun here and making sure the Boys and Girls Club enjoy the fruits of our labour,” she added.
Ms. Sikorski and Mr. Landry were volunteering at a fundraising hockey tournament and were approached by Camp Smitty manager Matt Singer about the needs at the camp, questioning if Home Depot might be interested in helping out.
“And here we are,” she said.
They usually do one Team Depot event per year and each store submits one project for consideration and they execute that project.
“But this time we decided to all come together, so all the stores came to this site. For some people, it was a two-hour drive and we’re just having blast.”
She acknowledged the suppliers and local contractors for their efforts and donations. She said 10 Home Depot stores were represented involving about 60 volunteers.
Mr. Landry said when they approached the various Home Depot stores everyone was eager to get on board.
“Together with Oksana and Tammy, we all kind of brainstormed to put this idea together. We approached Matt (Mr. Singer) wanting to support the great cause here at Camp Smitty,” he said.
“We thought it was a brilliant way for us to get involved and when we approached every store they all said they wanted to support this. That’s why we have over 50 people here, including contractors, vendors, merchants. So it’s brilliant for us.”
He stressed Home Depot does not do these projects for the media coverage.
“We’re here because it’s in our hearts to be here,” he stated. “And the feelings we have at the end of the day, shaking hands with guys like Matt (Mr. Singer) and saying ‘we appreciate you and what you do in the community’ is just enough for us.”
Camp Manager Amazed By Effort
Mr. Singer has been the camp manager since 2019 and said the hockey tournament where he talked to Home Depot representatives was a fundraiser for kids to attend Camp Smitty, and Home Depot was a sponsor of various prizes.
“That’s how I connected with Tim and Oksana and we started talking about the tournament and the camp and the opportunities.
“They said they were looking for something for Team Depot Day and I said we always have a ton of needs here for projects, like rebuilding decks and painting to make sure the facility is ready for the kids to come.
“They’ve been very generous, they came out, we did a tour, and they said they’d be happy to put this event together for us.”
All last week’s work involved building decks and fences, but Mr. Singer said one never knows what other projects might happen in the future.
“It’s amazing how they came together. Everybody showed up on time with big smiles on their faces . . . I mean obviously the day is beautiful and they got right to it.
“They rebuilt whole decks; they’re painting everything and the teamwork and camaraderie and everybody’s having a good time,” he noted. “It’s amazing.”
The project involved work on 12 cabins and a 200-foot fence. The donated work was valued at about $10,000 with materials and labour.
“And they’re helping us with a recycling shed, so there’s a lot of investment being put in here. It’s amazing and it really helps us do what we do.
“We try and make sure our camp is barrier free, as much as possible. We want to give every kid a chance to come here,” he added. “And it’s organizations like this, doing work like this, that save us the money we can put into kids coming to camp.”
Happy To Be Involved
Steve Fleury, owner of Whitewater Contracting, one of two local firms volunteering manpower and skills on Thursday, said Home Depot has supported him since he launched his business and he wanted to thank them by helping out at the camp.
“They’ve been my number one driver for several years now and when they ask, I try to help where I can,” he said. “I’m not familiar with the camp, but anything that keeps the kids active . . . I’ve got kids of my own, so anything that supports kids is good in my books.”
Ian Reynolds, owner of Tiny Timbers Inc., said he enjoys giving back to the community that supports his business.
“I actually live just around the corner here at Kelly’s Corner and my kids have actually come here with their school, EDPS (Eganville District Public School),” he said. “I just figured it would be a good day to come back out and it’s a beautiful day to be outside working anyway.”
Marc Godard and Bridget Begley, sales representatives for Behr paint, were on hand and provided all the cleaner and stain required for the event.
“Anytime Home Depot does a Team Depot event like this, we’re more than happy to help out and supply product and our time to help the community any way we can like this,” Mr. Godard stated.
“It’s fantastic having this many people out here. Many hands make light work,” Ms. Begley added.
Brian Marshal, national merchandising manager of Stella Jones for Canada, said his company provides pressure-treated lumber and composite decking to Home Depot and they also donated product.
“We’re here helping out with this amazing project. Home Depot does these all the time and it’s fantastic to see what they do with these projects.
“We’re so excited when we get to be part of the community and we love to come out and help and supply our product,” he added.