Sept. 28, 2004 – Nearly two-dozen Home Depot managers and employees celebrated the company's 25th anniversary by giving the Joseph Sibilly Elementary School library a face-lift Tuesday.
When Dr. Dora S. Hill, school principal, wrote a letter to the Home Depot store three weeks ago, she was hoping for a discount on the materials the school would need to do the job, or maybe, if she was lucky, they might even donate them. She was delighted, however, when a crew of 21 showed up bright and early Tuesday morning to do the job themselves.
"This is something I've wanted to do for six years now," Hill said, but the school's other needs, like textbooks and teaching materials always came first.
Standing in the doorway of the school office, crammed to overflowing with furniture and books moved from the library, Hill smiled at the work being done. The library's walls glistened with a fresh coat of turquoise paint and the floor was well on its way to being retiled. "We have a surprise for them this afternoon," she said. "We're buying them all pizza for lunch."
On site at Sibilly, Barbara Wheatley, Home Depot's human resources manager, explained between tasks that this has been designated a "week of service" for Home Depot's everywhere.
Also on the job was Ricky Wardally, the St. Thomas store manager, who said the Sibilly School library turned out to be a their pick for the local celebration of the company's quarter-century because "the scope of the work here was something we could handle."
So the two decided their Home Depot would fix up the library, and they put out a notice to the store's employees to see who would help.
Michael Smith, the manager of the store's paint department, was one of those who answered the call. Smith said he likes to help people. "Especially kids," he said. "They are the foundation, and they need to see good examples set by grownups."
Like Smith, the 20 other volunteers were there in the library, working on their day off to see that the children had a nice environment in which to study and learn.
And this was neither the beginning, nor the end of Home Depot's community-oriented work on St. Thomas. Wardally said last winter the store mustered up volunteers to do some landscaping work at Ivanna Eudora Kean High School.
"This work in the schools, with the kids, is just a part of what Home Depot does," Wardally said.
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