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The Heart of a Volunteer Knows No Boundaries

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The Heart of a Volunteer Knows No Boundaries

When it comes to building a preschool from the ground up in just six days, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition depends on the help of volunteers. For the Nashville Build, the spirit of volunteerism was a strong force with more than 3,500 volunteers. Although many of those who helped lived nearby, one volunteer traveled 2,200 miles and crossed the Canadian border to help make the Nashville Build happen.

Jeremy Lowe, a master carpenter and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at LP Golden, came all the way from Golden, British Columbia, to lend a hand a the Nashville Build. When he heard that LP was sponsoring the build, he knew he had to help. It didn’t matter that he was thousands of miles away there’s no distance too far to make a difference.

“I felt like I had to do something” Lowe said. “I’ve watched the show for a long time, and I knew that I could contribute.”

Lowe joined the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition volunteer force as one of the build site volunteer coordinators and helped bring the new Lighthouse Preschool to life. Like the other volunteers, Lowe didn’t know he would be working on a school until the first day. Because his wife is a teacher, building a school was a perfect fit.

Although Lowe may have traveled the farthest, he’s not the only volunteer that came from outside of Nashville to make the build possible. Check out some other notable volunteers below.

Elizabeth “Libby” Austin, daughter of Steven Austin, an electrician at LP Roxboro

Libby is familiar with the May flood in Nashville. A graduate student at Vanderbilt University, Libby found herself stuck on I-24 near the Lighthouse school as the water began to rise on the highway that May afternoon. She, along with a handful of others stuck in traffic, coordinated with an 18-wheeler to clear a path for people to back their cars off the interstate before it was inundated.

In the days following the flood, Libby volunteered to help others clean up their homes after the flood. The knee brace on her leg didn’t stop her from ripping up floors and tearing up walls so the process of rebuilding could begin. She smiled when she learned that she’d be working to replace the school building she saw floating down the interstate just a few months earlier.

Dave McGowin, safety manager, and Micah Sims, fire technician, LP Hanceville

When Corporate Health and Safety Director Keith Harned called for backup at the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition site, Dave and Micah didn’t hesitate to make the two-hour drive north.

“It’s a chance to showcase our company and it’s a very worthy cause,” Dave said. “You’re proud to see your company involved in a project like this.”

Dave and Micah helped with site safety during the crucial first three days of the build, when lumber, hammers, and nails were in heavy use. They worked with volunteers and professionals onsite to make sure everyone had the correct protective gear and were staying out of harm’s way. Their only disappointment was they didn’t get to stay long enough to see the Hanceville-made LP TechShield Radiant Barrier installed on the school.

Mike Ellington, LP Athens

Mike was excited when he got a call from his former boss Walt Ward, who told him he and a crew from Clarke County were heading to Nashville for the build. Mike joined them and did a variety of jobs, including driving a cart to ferry volunteers and supplies to the site from the staging grounds.

Walt Ward, Andy Pitts and Tommy Thompson, LP Clarke County

Walt, Andy, and Tommy pitched in for the build, doing everything from driving a hammer to driving a golf cart and coordinating heavy equipment and materials deliveries. Walt, plant manager, and Andy, quality manager, spent the whole week at the build in Nashville.

Tommy, regional resource manager, was there for the first two days and the final two days, but had to attend a forestry organization meeting in between.  “My job is flexible enough where I could do what I needed to do for my job in the after hours,” Tommy said. Tommy helped coordinate heavy equipment in the early days. He got back just in time to help put the finishing touches on the school’s playground.

“We helped any way we could,” Walt said. He, like Mike Ellington, drove a golf cart during the later days of the build, ferrying people and supplies from the staging area to the build. “We represented LP the best way we could,” Walt said at the end of the build.

Here’s a list of all LP employees who volunteered for the build:

  • Laurie Abel
  • Martin Barber
  • Susan Bell
  • Bush Bernard
  • Julie Biancheri
  • Michelle Boucher
  • Allan Burk
  • Rusty Carroll
  • Mary Cohn
  • Roxane Dover
  • Mike Ellington
  • Brian Foran
  • Gary Gore
  • Laurie Gormsen
  • Glenna Groce
  • Ashley Gutierrez
  • Pam Hannon
  • Keith Harned
  • Ann Harris
  • Greg Harrison
  • Tim Hartnett
  • Brannon Henry
  • Christelle Holder
  • Andrea Holmes
  • Bob Hopkins
  • Will Jackson
  • Jennifer Jenkins
  • Jennifer Kershaw
  • Yuri Lawrence
  • Tamara Lester
  • Jeremy Lowe
  • Brian Luoma
  • Janet McDowell
  • Dave McGowin
  • Deanna Miller
  • MaryLou Millican
  • Christine Mohondro
  • Judy Musgrove
  • Rick Olszewski
  • Sherry Overcast
  • Andy Pitts
  • Jessica Preston
  • Kim Rogers
  • Jason Rowell
  • Tracy Rusin
  • Melissa Ryan
  • Jeremy Searcy
  • Tracey Sender
  • Ann Sharpe
  • Micah Sims
  • Ben Skoog
  • Don Sloan
  • Leigh Smith
  • Kimberly Stinnett
  • Greg Stogner
  • Lisa Taylor
  • Tommy Thompson
  • Keith Thornton
  • Mark Tobin
  • Don Walker
  • Walt Ward
  • Mike Wardlow
  • Paula Wolowiec

This information and the websites identified above are provided solely as a convenience to the reader. They are not intended to state or imply that the editors of Engineered Wood or LP Building Products sponsor, recommend, endorse or are affiliated or associated with the companies or products listed.