Lisle volunteers help at Habitat project in West Chicago

Twenty employees from CA Technologies in Lisle took the day off Thursday.

No, they didn’t spend their time watching “The Price is Right,” or running errands, or trying to figure out how many raindrops plopped on their kitchen window.

Instead they spent the better part of their day volunteering with DuPage County Habitat for Humanity to either help build houses on West Pomeroy and Sherman streets in West Chicago’s Pioneer Prairie neighborhood or lend a hand around Habitat’s ReStore on Rohlwing Road in Addison.

Among those getting their fingernails — and just about everything else — a little dirty was company Vice President Kirk Willis. He said he’s had experience putting up drywall, but this was his first time helping at a Habitat home.

“CA is always trying to help out within the community and this is a team-building exercise,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to come out and help those in the community.”

CA is a global IT management software and solutions company with about 400 employees in Lisle.

Thursday’s project was part of its sixth annual Together in Action volunteer program, which offers employees paid time off each fall to support community projects of their choosing.

Laura Fletcher, a principal technical writer at CA, headed the team of volunteers working in West Chicago.

Fletcher has been a regular at Habitat projects since her company launched the volunteer program. This is the second time in the past few weeks she’s been at the home site and the second time workers found themselves confronted with pouring rain.

With the weather making outside work impossible, nine of the volunteers headed to the ReStore where they stocked shelves and did some general fix-up work. The store, operated by Habitat, collects donations of new or gently used household and construction goods and then sells them at greatly reduced prices to benefit the nonprofit agency.

Since it began operations in DuPage County in 1995, Habitat has built more than 50 homes to help people who otherwise might not be able to afford a house.

Even with the rain, Fletcher and 10 others stayed in West Chicago doing whatever they could in four of the five houses under construction as part of an 11-house subdivision.

“We all have tried to do (construction) things, but we learn to do them the right way when we’re here,” Fletcher said with a smile. “I painted ceilings, doors and trim and I also did some cleaning.”

“They’ve got to be one of the best volunteer teams we have working with us,” Habitat construction manager Brian Harris said. “What’s so great is the willingness people have to pitch in and do whatever needs to be done. When they’re finished for the day you see them walk away with a sense of accomplishment.”

Last year, CA Technologies employees set a program record with more than 1,600 volunteers donating more than 5,800 hours to help community projects around the world. Fletcher says volunteer efforts to assist organizations such as Habitat and Feed the Starving Children are always fulfilling.

There’s one other cool part, too, she admits with a little prodding: watching some of her bosses operating outside their comfort zone.

“There were a couple director of development guys sitting on the floor doing whatever it is they do to get ready to install tile,” she said. “And they were really sweating!”

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