Plumbers set to volunteer on Habitat for Humanity house

Each year, a senior citizen or another person in need receives thousands of dollars of improvements to his or her home – and isn’t charged a cent for the work.

The work is performed by members of the Western Wayne Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association. One weekend a year, dozens of plumbers and mechanical contractors set aside their regularly scheduled workload to volunteer their services at a home – often in the Downriver area.

The last two years, association members made improvements to homes in Taylor. This year, they’ve selected a home on Lisa Street in Romulus that is under construction by Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. The work will start at 8 a.m. September 8.

Charley Johnson, owner of Alert Plumbing in Taylor and president of the association, said the group will install all new plumbing in the brand new house.

“Habitat for Humanity did a presentation at our association meeting,” Johnson said. “One of our members, John Meade, has been doing work for Habitat for awhile and thought it would be a great project for our association. It was really a no-brainer.”

The job will take “all day,” Johnson said. This year, 10 to 15 plumbers are expected to participate, representing eight to 10 companies.

“It’s just fun to give back,” he said. “I make a decent living and that’s what you’re supposed to do in life. It’s nice to see the look on the people’s faces. It’s just fun to do.”

The association was founded in 1953. Contractors – many of whom compete against each other on a daily basis – now gather on a regular basis in an ongoing effort to improve the industry in which they are involved.

The association’s day-long community event is known as Richter Day, named after Fred Richter, a member of the association who started a goodwill day in the 1960s. When Richter died, the day was renamed in his honor.

“All of the members are all about giving back,” Johnson said. “We’re all about family and giving back. That’s why we all get along so well. It’s why competitors can give up a day’s profits and work side by side. It’s kind of cool.”

Johnson is no stranger to giving back. He offers his plumbing expertise on a variety of worthwhile projects, including the new Taylor Conservatory at Heritage Park. He recently raised $1,600 for the Taylor Fire Department to purchase fire-safety materials for children.

Johnson also is president of the John F. Kennedy High School Band Boosters and is currently organizing a fund-raising golf outing to help provide the band members funds for uniforms, repairing instruments and other needs.

The golf outing is scheduled for September 16 at Taylor Meadows Golf Club, 25360 Ecorse Road. Registration begins at 7 a.m.

The band plays at high school football and basketball games, graduation ceremonies and many other community events.

Tickets to the outing are $110 per golfer. Hole sponsorships are available for $100. Dinner-only tickets are $40. VIP packages for a foursome and sponsorship are $475.

“It’s so important to raise money for the kids,” Johnson said. “The kids are our future. Most of these kids are honor-roll students. They go to college. They need to have good experiences in high school. The schools can’t provide everything, but my concern is the kids and that they have a good time.”

He urged local businesses that want to “give back” to the community to sponsor a hole or golf in the event. He said one business, Continental Cuts, did a couple car wash fund-raisers and buys pizza for the band members.

“Now my family and I won’t go anywhere else,” Johnson said. “That’s where we go to get our hair cut.”

For tickets, to sponsor a hole, to make a donation or to hold a fund-raiser to support the band, contact Johnson at (313) 291-1555. Checks should be made payable to the Friends of Kennedy Band.