Members of the Northwest Ohio Building Trades partnered with Feet on the Street, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Toledo Police Department to help two children recover from a horrific, life-changing situation.
In August 2016, the Toledo community learned about a murder-suicide, which took the life of a Toledo emergency dispatcher and left her three children without their birthparents.
Facing life without their birthparents and few places to turn, the eldest of the three children, who was of legal age, decided to live with a relative. The two remaining juvenile girls, with approval of their relatives, moved into the home of family friend Rachel Kolebuck, a Toledo emergency dispatcher, who had worked with their mother. Kolebuck eventually gained legal custody of the two girls.
By making this generous, life-changing decision to raise the two girls, one in elementary school and the other in high school, the Kolebuck house, suddenly became a cramped place for all to live, as the family did not have enough space to comfortably raise two additional family members.
The two girls, who tragically lost their parents, deserved a chance to regain some normalcy in their lives.
In stepped more than 50 community volunteers who wanted to make a positive impact in the girls’ lives.
Upon learning about the situation, members of the Northwest Ohio Building Trades and Feet on the Street partnered together to donate both labor and materials to convert the Kolebuck basement into functioning living space for the children.
The project, called the Kolebuck Kids Humanitarian Project, help the Kolebuck’s add two new bedrooms and a bathroom to their house.
Volunteers from various building trade unions gave their time and talent to help the family, including Carpenters Local 351, UA Local 50, IBEW Local 8, Sheet Metal Workers Local 33, Painters Local 7, Plasterers and Cement Masons Local 886, Laborers Local 500 and Operating Engineers Local 18.
The highly-skilled and highly-trained building trade members began working on the project in early February and completed the home renovation six weeks later.
Toledo Police Officer Joe Okos, of Feet on the Street, told the Toledo Blade said it was a privilege to help the Kolebucks. He said one of the girls told volunteers the only thing she wanted was a closet.
A number of union contractors and organizations also participated in this project, including the Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO, Northwest Ohio Labor Fest, Inc., Wellcraft, Mick Electric, AFI Installers, Toledo Gypsum and M & M Heating. They donated construction materials such as drywall, framing, flooring, paint and bathroom essentials.
Both Feet on the Street and the Northwest Ohio Building and Construction Trades were honored to help the family of Rachel Kolebuck (a member of AFSCME Local 7) during this time to help make a positive impact on lives of the two girls following their tragic loss.