Let's Get Together

One of my favorite movies growing up was "The Parent Trap," the version with Hayley Mills playing the twins who meet each other for the first time — that they can remember — at summer camp as teenagers. They quickly realize how much richer their lives are together.

Camp is one of the earliest opportunities for a child to learn independence and social skills without a parent or teacher around. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend sending your children to overnight camp. 4-H, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Salvation Army and many churches offer affordable day and resident camps.

While I am not getting to go to camp this summer, I do have the privilege of working with new and old friends on projects that are outdoors and make the world a better place.

Today I wanted to shine light into a few nooks and crannies of nice people in the floor covering industry who are noticing the world around them, collaborating and taking action. It’s amazing what we can do when we invite others to join.

Recently, a social worker from North Georgia Home Health reached out to learn more about my organization. Because of our conversation, an elderly gentleman in Murray County, a retiree from a local floor covering plant, was connected to our grant program. In a matter of a couple of weeks, Dalton First Baptist Church, Shaw Industries and the Floor Covering Industry Foundation put a plan in place to help the man with in-home nursing care, provide financial assistance with household bills and schedule to build handicap ramp so he can safely get in and out of his home. Assisting seniors in maintaining the independence of living in their own homes as long as possible is something that we can all be proud of accomplishing together.

Additionally, we are working with Dalton Area Project (DAP) — a week-long residential youth volunteer program spearheaded by Dalton First United Methodist Church — to help a family in Tunnel Hill. A single woman is caring for her adult child who is disabled and needs home repairs. The Floor Covering Industry Foundation provides financial grants to help families in the industry who have life-altering catastrophic medical conditions by assisting with mortgage or rent, utilities, and medical costs. I am excited that we are assisting this family with a grant. By partnering with DAP, we can make a positive impact by purchasing supplies for this project that will be completed by youth and adult volunteers in July.

Northwest Georgia has a legacy of taking care of our own. The floor covering industry across the nation also has a history of building partnerships that enhance quality of life and build communities. Here are a few examples that I came across in the past week of businesses and organizations in the industry partnering with nonprofits:

The National Wood Flooring Association supports the Gary Sinise Foundation, a nonprofit that serves our nation by honoring our defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need.

Mohawk Industries partners with Sunshine on a Ranney Day, a nonprofit which brings dream room makeovers to children with long-term illnesses. Formed in 2012, Sunshine on a Ranney Day does wheelchair-accessible bathrooms, dream bedrooms, in-home therapy rooms and wheelchair ramps and lifts.

Dan Gorsegner’s family-run hardwood flooring business, Gorsegner Brothers Hardwood Floors, donates a percentage of sales to families experiencing the burden of childhood cancer. They also recently donated a sanding and finishing job to the Ronald McDonald House in Long Branch, N.J.

Also, I want to give a special shot out to International Certified Floorcovering Installers Association Inc. (CFI). Formed in Missouri in 1993 as a nonprofit trade association dedicated to promoting the skills of the flooring installer, CFI is now a division of the World Floor Covering Association.

Today, CFI continues to evolve as a leader in the industry by giving back. CFI has an outreach to help transitioning veterans find careers. Through the nonprofit Leave A Legacy Foundation, CFI helps with the “Next Generation” initiative to recruit new installers. They work with the various military transition offices to attract veterans and their families to the training classes.

High-fives to each of these companies, organizations, and people who are teaming up to tackle ramp builds, to help veterans entering the workplace, and to be there for families coping with serious illness. It’s important work and extraordinarily better when we do it together.

Andrea Dobbins is the executive director of the Floor Covering Industry Foundation, a nonprofit headquartered in Dalton.

This column by Andrea Dobbins was published in the June 25, 2017 edition of the Dalton Daily Citizen News.

“Let's get together, yeah, yeah, yeah. Why don't you and I combine?”

— "The Parent Trap"