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Sue Guinn Legg

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slegg@johnsoncitypress.com
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A Grand gesture: Business' employees help Boys & Girls Club with needed repairs

August 12th, 2011 11:33 am by Sue Guinn Legg

“Making people happy is what we do best,” said George Hamblen, manager of the Grand Home Furnishings store in Johnson City, as he and a crew of Grand volunteers made quick work of several big jobs at the Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City Washington County on Thursday.
Quoting the company logo emblazoned on back of their T-shirts, Hamblen smiled and paused to explain their purpose as the volunteers continued painting, replacing water-damaged ceiling tiles, refurbishing kitchen cabinets and helping club director Jason Hincke sort out years worth of outdated supplies, worn toys and dusty trophies taking up space.
Grand is celebrating its 100th anniversary, and since November its stores have been reaching out to service organizations in the communities where they do business. In addition to their work day and the new ceiling tiles they brought for the Boys & Girls Club, Hamblen said the Johnson City store has been pleased to provide new furniture to the Tri-State Baptist Children’s Home in Bristol and to the Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City. And the store will do more for other local nonprofit groups as Grand and the Grand Happiness Foundation continue their “100 Grand Gestures” anniversary celebration.
Hincke was certainly happy to have them.
“Thank you doesn’t say enough, but a big thank you to Grand Home Furnishings for allowing their people to come out and donating their time to fixing these problems we’ve had for a while,” he said. “It’s encouraging to know there are businesses out there willing to help organizations like the Boys & Girls Club. All the things they are doing is really saving us money from our operating budget, which allows us to spend more on the kids and the programs we offer them.”
According to Hamblen, it was Grand sales associate Eric Patton who alerted him to the needs at the club and put him in touch with board member Stephen Dixon. Dixon explained the club’s struggles with its 40-year-old building and the succession of funding challenges that left the club without resources to repair its leaking roof or the damage the leaks caused to its ceilings and two gym floors. Hamblen then called Hincke for a list of specifics — more than 50 ceiling tiles needed to be replaced, cabinets with doors and drawers missing and broken, a gymnasium that was half painted and another gymnasium that’s being used for storage to clean out.
The restoration is still a work in progress, and Grand is the latest in a series of community members to come to the club’s aid. To help fix the roof, the Young Professionals of the Tri-Cities raised more than $10,000 and a couple of generous roofers extended healthy discounts. The young professionals and other groups have also put in long work days at the building, cleaning, painting and clearing storage areas to make room for more programming.
Next on the checklist, Hincke said: Materials to restore the floor in the larger of the two gyms has been donated by Mullican Flooring and the club is in search of skilled volunteers and “a very good quote” to get the job done.
More information about the club’s after school and summer programs, athletic leagues, restoration needs and how to help may all be obtained by calling the club at 461-4560.

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