Professionals assist Tekawitha
Local contractors volunteer time and materials
By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor
"Mass attack" may not sound like a positive term to most, but for John Hurckman, owner and president of Hurckman Mechanical Industries Inc. of Green Bay, it is a term of endearment.
Hurckman used it to describe a maximum labor effort contributed to the Diocese of Green Bay last Saturday by employees of his company and partner contractors, Knope Heating of Shawano, Eagle Mechanical of Sturgeon Bay and Hurckman Heating and Cooling of Green Bay (all Carrier dealers). Temperature Systems Inc. of Green Bay also contributed materials.
Service professionals gathered at 7 a.m., Saturday at Camp Tekawitha on County Trunk H between Cecil and Shawano for a day of installing heating, ventilating and air conditioning materials and service.
"As a company we try from time to time to involve our employees in community service through in-kind contributions of their skills," said Hurckman. "The company provides the materials and absorbs all costs associated with the preparation of the project."
Employees donated approximately 160 hours at an estimated value of $6,400 to the project.
Completing the work on Saturday was important to keep the Camp Tekawitha Building Project ahead of the construction schedule, said Hurckman. Camp Tekawitha, the diocesan youth camp sponsored by Catholic Charities, will feature a new main lodge, staff bunkhouse, infirmary and director's quarters when the camp opens for its 76th year of operation in June. Renovation plans have also been made for the cabins, recreation hall and a new chapel.
Preparations for "Camp Tekawitha Volunteer Day" began a couple months ago, said Bonnie DeChamps, marketing director at Hurkman Mechanical.
"We knew that we were going to do it some Saturday in April, but we waited until two weeks before the date to gather volunteers," she said. "We didn't have to twist any arms. They were very willing to give their time. This project involved union workers who sometimes get a bad rap. They wanted to contribute. We have done other volunteer projects, but this was our largest effort."
"When I was looking for volunteers, I had one service technician whose son was at Camp Tekawitha last summer," she continued. "I told him 'You're the man for the job.' Many of the workers are Catholic, which added to their interest in helping at the camp."
The project attracted wives of employees and united former and present employees. Hurckman has a Quarter Century Club, which includes retired employees.
"These ventures give our retired employees an opportunity to find the groove again and it reunites them with mechanics who they trained," said Hurckman.
"It was nice to see people come together and the weather worked out wonderfully," said DeChamps. "It was fun. We had a cookout at the end of the day."
"It is very valuable when people like this come forward to offer their time and talents," said Bobbi Larson, director at Camp Tekawitha. "This is truly a ministry for children, so it is so wonderful."