Helping Hands

COVID-19 gives companies a chance
to provide community service projects

Madison Tool & Die sends employees
on service missions

(August 2020) – In the classic tale of “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” the struggling shoemaker woke one morning to find that someone had completed his unfinished work from the previous day. Day after day, he was amazed to see what the elves had completed while he slept. The extra help allowed him to become more and more prosperous.
In Madison, Ind., it was not elves who completed extra work each day during the COVID-19 shutdown. Instead, two local businesses jumped into action and the results have helped Madison thrive during these challenging months.
Almost overnight, plexiglass shields appeared at the King’s Daughters’ Hospital and other medical facilities, as well as many local businesses. Cemeteries were mowed and cleaned up. Parks and baseball fields were cleaned and painted. Cleaning and painting projects were also completed at non-profit facilities. The protective shields were produced by Armor Plastics, part of the SuperATV group. The community service projects were completed by employees of Madison Tool and Die Inc.
“It all happened at once, the virus and the need for a protective barrier. At Super ATV and Armor Plastics, we make windshields. It was a natural transition to respond immediately,” said John Gray, General Manager of Armor Plastics. After talking with people in the industry about how to protect people, they were able to use existing equipment to make both the protective shields as well as face shields. They had some of the materials on hand and also acquired thin plastic sheets.

Madison Tool & Die

Photo provided

An employee of Madison Tool & Die Inc. in Madison, Ind., mows grass at a local cemetery.

“We donated several hundred to local businesses. The project also kept our people busy when we didn’t know what would happen,” he added.
“We were thrilled to be one of the first recipients of the plexiglass shields to provide protection for both our employees and our patients,” said Madonna Wilson, Foundation Coordinator.
The community service projects were completed by about 25 employees of Madison Tool and Die Inc. “All credit goes to our people, our great employees. No one complained. They may have had an inside job, normally, but ended up running a weed-eater outside all day. I can’t say enough about this great group of people,” said Glenn Rogers, Operations Manager. 
He explained that the projects were assigned based on individual skills. Not everyone can operate a zero-turn lawn mower or tackle major painting projects. One group of employees mowed and trimmed acres of grass at the Springdale and Fairmount Cemeteries. Another group of employees painted the Rucker Sports Complex, all of the rooms at the old Eggleston School plus many projects at the Lide White Boys & Girls Club.
“Madison Tool and Die has gone above and beyond to provide support to our city during these trying times,” said Madison Assistant Parks Director Matt Woolard. “While some companies were laying off their employees, Madison Tool and Die kept their staff paid and productive by completing projects at Rucker Sports Complex, such as painting the dugouts and press boxes. We’re very thankful for their support.”
On rainy days, the crew tackled projects at the Boys and Girls Club. “They were amazing,” exclaimed Brandi Poling, the club’s CEO. “A lot of maintenance work is really expensive. We haven’t had the money to do these things. They did everything that needed to be done. I can’t even tell how much money they saved us.,” she added.

Madison Tool & Die

Photo provided

A Madison Tool & Die Inc. employee trims weeds around the headstones at local cemeteries in Madison, Ind.

The team took out the water fountains that are now considered a health risk, removed a huge, old, non-functional water heater, painted safety lines and basketball goals, pressure-washed concrete, killed weeds and cleaned out the bus corral. Twenty years accumulation of old junk, wood and trash was piled into dumpsters. They took out old carpet, painted rooms, installed safety rubber on step edges, shampooed carpets, striped and waxed floors, and re-striped the gym floors. They repaired damaged pool tables – pool tables so old that Poling remembers them from the 1990s when she was a club member herself. She described the work team as “super-talented men,” but said that the interaction with the kids at the club was even more impressive. “They were attentive to the kids and provided extra attention to them when they needed it,” Poling said.
Meanwhile, another group of eight to 10 employees, including both men and women, learned to sew cloth masks. A large warehouse was cleaned out to make room for borrowed tables and sewing machines. Soon they had made several thousand masks, which were donated to the Madison Police Department, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Madison Correctional Facility and the Kings Daughter’s Hospital as well as Scott Memorial Hospital in Scottsburg, Ind., and Carroll County Memorial Hospital in Carrollton, Ky.
It’s easy to take for granted changes that just happen, such as newly painted park facilities, neatly trimmed cemeteries or completed maintenance work. But these completed projects also provide inspiration for everyone to look for ways to lend a hand. Madison’s Mayor Bob Courtney expressed the gratitude of the community when he said, “It’s corporate citizens like Madison Tool and Die and others that show their love of our community during this unprecedented environment. We are grateful to the Sparks Family (company owners), the management and the employees at Madison Tool and Die for providing invaluable support that played an important role in our parks re-opening strategies.”

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