New chairwoman of community relations committee wanted to try something different this year
Some tools, some sunshine and a day away from work was all they needed to show how much they care.
About a dozen Delphi workers and their families woke up early Saturday morning to clean, rake and trim a local elderly woman's yard.
Barb Kluding, chairperson of Delphi's community relations committee, said she wanted to do something different this year as the committee's new chairperson.
"We wanted to start small," she said.
She began by contacting Serving our Seniors Inc., a non-profit group that helps independent-living senior citizens in Erie County.
Generally, the plant's committee would collect donations and then give them to the local organizations. This time, Kluding wanted the committee to go out into the community to do some hands-on work. Serving our Seniors Inc. responded and gave Kluding Thelma Hill's name.
On Saturday, Kluding and her co-workers arrived bright and early to Hill's residence with all the supplies and equipment needed to clean the exterior to Hill's home.
"I was really happy with the turnout we had," said Kluding. "Perfect day. Perfect weather."
Hill, 79, watched from inside her home as the group worked together to rake the yard, trim the trees, pressure-wash the house, remove weeds and plant some flowers.
"I really appreciate it because I can't do it," said Hill, adding that several projects the group worked on hadn't been done in a few years.
The group worked non-stop, rotating new workers in as other workers left.
Hill described them as "busy as bees." She went outside and offered to make them coffee, but the group was prepared. They had brought their own drinks and snacks.
"Anything they saw that needed doing -- they did it," said Hill, who lives by herself with her 8-year-old miniature fox terrier named Lady.
By about 1:30 p.m., the workers had finished. Sitting in her kitchen after the workers left, Hill described the house as feeling "fresher."
Purple and yellow mums now decorate the front of Hill's home. The spiderwebs and fallen leaves that once stuck to the house's siding are gone. The tree branches that used to scrape the rooftop have been removed.
"The difference was amazing," said Kluding. "It's a good feeling. It's just something nice to do for somebody."
Kluding said she hopes to continue the project again next year. Whether it is yard work, or handiwork, Kluding said she hopes to recruit even more people to help out in the future.
"This is something I will never forget," Hill said.