Putting Hammer Down For Charity

    GRAND RAPIDS — In the everyday realm, big things often come in small packages. In the business world, the biggest efforts often come from the smallest firms.

    And that’s the case here.

    Hammer for Housing, a fundraiser for the Inner City Christian Foundation (ICCF), is being spearheaded by a pair of leading companies in their respective fields: Standale Lumber and Rockford Construction.

    But if Clutch Holtvluwer of Standale or Rockford’s John Wheeler were asked who are the real heroes of Hammer for Housing, they’d probably say the dozens of small contractors who donate their time and talents to build the house that will allow ICCF to build six more homes for low-income families.

    Just one of those firms is Construction Design Resources Inc. (CDR) of Rockford.

    CDR is a minority-owned company that has been putting up the framework and roof trusses on residences and commercial buildings since 1990, and has been doing so with a small crew.

    “I have four people working with me, and we mainly do framing and siding,” said Scott Patino, founder and owner of CDR. “We’ve been involved with ICCF for approximately 10 years.”

    Patino began his run with ICCF when one of the nonprofit’s employees met him at the Home and Garden Show in 1992. Since that unscheduled meeting CDR has become one of ICCF’s most reliable and valuable contractors, doing work for the organization that now accounts for more than three-quarters of Patino’s annual business.

    “I started out doing a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and now we’re building approximately 16 homes a year for them. We do some remodeling for them, too,” said Patino.

    “We also do some commercial work, but not for ICCF.”

    Patino recently donated three weeks of labor to ICCF by putting up the frame and setting the roof trusses on the Hammer for Housing home at 7370 Cascade Woods Drive in Cascade Township. The work CDR did was worth about $10,000 in today’s market

    “I’m not getting paid for doing the framing out there. But I did pay my guys, so they didn’t have to donate their time. But I did donate my time. The reason why I did it is I believe in what ICCF stands for and for what they’re doing,” said Patino.

    The 2,900-square-foot house will have four bedrooms and three baths when it’s finished in September, just in time for the Fall Parade of Homes. Then the house will be sold and all the proceeds will go to ICCF.

    ICCF has built or reconstructed more than 400 units of affordable housing since it began in 1974; 236 of those have been single-family homes that have helped low-income residents achieve a portion of the American dream. ICCF also serves over 750 area families through its Family Haven program, which provides emergency shelter, educational services, rental services and home-ownership opportunities for those in need.

    “I’ve been with them for a number of years,” said Patino, who is married to Tanya; they have three sons ages 6 to 12. “I’ve been able to support my family on this association with ICCF. Their overall goal for this Hammer for Housing is to recoup some of that money and make a domino effect so they can keep on developing more homes.”

    The half-dozen homes that ICCF will build from the proceeds of the Hammer house sale will be located in the central city and offered to low-income residents through its lease and purchase program. After leasing the homes for two years and meeting certain requirements, the residents can then buy the houses. ICCF will take the proceeds from those sales and build more houses in the city.

    Standale Lumber, celebrating its golden anniversary this year, is donating all the interior and exterior wood products, cabinets, flooring and wall and window coverings. Rockford Construction has one of its top project managers, Bill Meconis, overseeing the building of the home and handling all the donations of labor and material. Rockford President Mike Van Gessel serves on the ICCF board of directors.

    “That’s why everybody is involved in the project,” Patino said of the helping hand that will result from the sale of the house. “Also, I’m involved to show my appreciation and to help pay them back for the things they’ve done for me.”         

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