On Dec 30th, Jim Feild, Builder Captain for the Foundation’s Cordero House project, scheduled an instructional tour to showcase the renovation progress. Despite the wind and rain and the 1920’s structure being stripped to its studs, Cordero House was a hive of activity with 10 boys eager to see their vacated home’s inner workings.
The tour began in the office trailer where the boys were shown 3-D renderings and floor plans. We talked about the design process. They got a kick out of changing wall colors, finishes and vantage points. By the end of the design presentation, they learned to visualize the finished home, and understood the magnitude of what a $900K renovation entails. Here, I also learned that several of the boys aspired to become electricians and architects. I was tickled by their eagerness to share their career goals and hopes.
The house preview was next. It was an icebox. Floor boards creaked as we all avoided hanging wires and exposed pipes and beams. Jim guided us through the rooms and talked us through upgrades, efficiencies, space planning and new technology.
He showed us carpet samples, stone samples and textiles. All the while, we barely noticed the cold because we could see the excitement in each of the boys’ eyes.
Towards the end of the tour, it became clear to me that Jim had planned so much more than just a walking tour. He wanted to inspire the boys; show them the importance of having a vision and sharing their dreams. He shared a personal story of the teacher who inspired him to become a Remodeler over 34 years ago.
He showed them his old, paint covered, nicked hammer. He explained that it was one of his prized possessions, the same hammer his teacher gave him. His most invaluable tool, helped him build over 700 homes, repaired dog houses, build decks and fences, pull weeds, even dig a shallow grave for a bird that died many years ago.
Then, to everyone’s surprise, Jim presented each of the boys his own hammer. He presented the hammers to each boy in order of height.
Little did they know, Jim spent hours engraving each hammer with the boys’ names. Jim talked about the “tools” that Cordero House gave them. He wanted them to have something tangible for themselves that represented the renovation of the house and the transformation of their lives.
There wasn’t a dry eye in the building. One of the boys put it best, “I think I’m gonna sleep with the hammer under my pillow tonight”.