On Friday, September 9, 2016, Wedgewood completed its second Wedgefest project of the year. Partnering once again with Sharefest, a South Bay nonprofit that facilitates positive change by connecting companies with community needs, Wedgewood took on a very ambitious project – a two-week total home makeover for a very deserving member of the Wilmington community.
The project kicked off officially on August 25th when Sharefest and Wedgewood united to surprise Salvador Lara and his family with the gift of a home renovation in recognition of his boundless service to the community. With just two weeks to get the project completed, the construction team began work that very same day.
A longtime Wilmington resident, Lara launched the Clean Wilmington program in 2007 because he was concerned about his community’s degraded condition. As project manager, Lara recruits, organizes, and supervises the cleanup projects, bringing together hundreds of community volunteers. Every year, the Clean Wilmington team removes over one hundred tons of weeds and illegally-dumped items. The result is a more beautiful city and civic pride for the Wilmington residents.
To celebrate the contributions of Salvador Lara, several dignitaries of the city and state were present for the reveal of the Lara home renovation, including Joe Buscaino, 15th District Councilman of Los Angeles, and Isadore Hall, 35th District California State Senator. Councilman Buscaino said, “It is our honor and privilege to pay it forward to Salvador Lara and say thank you for all that you have done to improve the quality of life here in Wilmington.”
Greg Geiser, President and CEO of Wedgewood, first thanked the Wedgewood employees, suppliers, and company reps. “This project cost approximately $56,000, over half of that cost was donated by our suppliers and reps and countless hours by our Wedgewood office.” He followed that up with a tribute to Salvador Lara. “We all like to believe that good things to happen to good people. We need that to be true. And today, it is.”
Salvador Lara’s son, Juan, also talked about hard work and positivity when describing the values that his dad instilled in him. “When my father started [the Clean Wilmington program]…people would ask him, why are you doing this? You’re doing this for free? The juice isn’t worth the squeeze… And now I see that there is something invaluable that my father gets out of this. It’s the people you meet doing things like this. To know that there are good people out there, that contribute, that want to make an impact on the world. That’s invaluable.”
Jamie Bedner who worked with Sharefest to come up with this project and managed it from concept to finish said, “This project would not have been possible without the Wedgewood Dream Team. That’s what I call our team of employees and suppliers. They worked tirelessly to pull this together and make it happen in just two weeks.”
The actual home renovation was completed by a smaller team of Wedgewood employees and suppliers. To provide an opportunity for the whole company to give back, Jamie expanded the scope of the September 9th ribbon cutting with a Clean Wilmington day of service. Wedgewood’s management team nominated six team leaders (Kerry Versellie, Ryan Chapin, Megan Menjou, Monika Drozd, Jessica Maciel, and Jen Scott) whose job it was to coordinate the 90 Wedgewood employees who turned out to take on six different beautification projects in the Wilmington neighborhood – projects selected and scoped by Salvador Lara himself. Wedgewood employees picked up trash, disposed of illegally dumped bulky items, and landscaped throughout the city.
The day culminated at the Lara house with the unveiling of Salvador’s new home and a block party with music and food for the entire neighborhood to enjoy.
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