Baton Rouge schools Catholic High School, Episcopal High School, St. Joseph's Academy, and University High School helped to build the homes of Sonja Pania and Val Robinson. The Methodist Habitat Connection, a group of local Methodist Churches, built the homes of Katina Coleman and Stacy Dorsey. The Beth Shalom Synagogue, Broadmoor Baptist Church and Shiloh Baptist Church built the home of Robin Bradley. Volunteers from most of the organizations worked with industry partners to install tile.
"What a wonderful experience it was for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Baton Rouge to work with Tile Partners for Humanity this past fall! From the national tile and tile-product manufacturers to the local store owners and professional installers, everyone was so incredibly generous and supportive," said Lynn Clark, HFHGBR development director. "It was one of the best partnerships our affiliate has been involved in. The benefits were many - our homeowners received gorgeous, long-lasting tile floors and our volunteers were able to learn a great new skill under the patient tutelage of the skilled installers. We definitely hope to have the good fortune to work with Tile Partners in the near future!"
New homeowner Sonja Pania worked for two days on her floor and then two more days on the floors of her new neighbors. She said the tile floors help her live with fewer allergies and are easier to clean than her previous home.
Laticrete International donated setting and floor preparation materials for the full project. Senior Technical Representative Jack LeBlanc, who lives and works in Baton Rouge, spent several days working with homeowners and volunteers to install tile in the homes. Technical Sales Representative Victoria Wright of Houston also donated time to work with volunteers.
"I'm glad TPFH asked us to be a part of this project. It's always a blessing for me to be able to give back, especially here in Louisiana," LeBlanc said. "It's such an awesome feeling to be able to use my talents and our products to help people reach their goals. On a project like this, we can be the oars that people use to get through the water."
Baton Rouge-area tile donors included Bolick Distributors, Jenkins Tile Company and Viking Distributors. Aztec Tile Company of Metairie, BPI of Harahan and Rickert Tile of Metairie also donated for the project. Each donor gave in excess of 700 square feet of tile.
Gary Kennan, owner of Aztec Tile, said one of the reasons he donated was his past experience with Habitat. Kennan lived and worked as an attorney in Benton County, Ark., for many years, where he helped to found the Habitat affiliate in Bentonville in the late 1990's.
Jenkins Tile also donated four days of labor to help tile three homes and teach volunteers to set tile. They worked with students from Episcopal and Catholic High Schools as well as members of the Habitat student chapter at Louisiana State University.
Donny Walton of Orchid Ceramics spent three days working in the home of Sonja Pania, installing Orchid Tile donated by Viking Distributors. Galen Vicknair of Viking also visited the site to oversee the installation. Larry Romero and William LeBlanc of BPI each donated a day to install tile and work with Habitat volunteers.
Ronnie Accardo of Accardo Tile spent one day working with new homeowner Robin Bradley as well as Jack LeBlanc of Laticrete and Diane Deaton, the weather anchor for a morning show on WAFB-TV in Baton Rouge. The three worked with other volunteers to install tile donated by Bolick in Bradley's home.
"It was an awesome experience! I did it because it makes me feel good, doing for others," Accardo said, adding that he hoped to work with the affiliate on another project.
Local tile artist Connie Bourgeois donated one hand-painted tile that she personalized for each homeowner family. Aqua Mix donated Concentrated Tile Cleaner and Sealer's Choice 15 Gold for each new home as well.
TPFH is based in Norcross, Ga., and accepts donations of tile, installation materials, tile tools, floor preparation materials, cleaners and sealers, labor, and installation training for Habitat projects. TPFH is supported by industry donations and accepts donations of financial support for its operations and communication efforts.
For more information on TPFH or to make a pledge, please visit www.tpfh.com. To view more pictures from this build, visit http://www.tpfh.com/partners/projects/hfhgbr1.html.