Coming To The Table

Construction Industry Feeds Healthcare Workers

Story by Michael Seguin
Photography by Amico

Windsor’s healthcare workers are in the line of fire. Thanks to dwindling medical supplies and steadily climbing coronavirus numbers, the future has never been more uncertain. And many of these warriors are braving the storm alone— separated from their friends and family.

Some of these frontline healthcare workers have taken up residence at the Holiday Inn Express in downtown Windsor.

When Dave Hunter, the Senior Manager of Business Development and Marketing at Amico, heard about their predicament he decided to intervene.

“I heard that a lot of these doctors and nurses and lab technicians were being put into a downtown hotel,” Dave states. “They did this to protect their kids and spouses from any potential dangers that this virus could have. So I contacted Windsor Regional Hospital, found out where they were staying and how many people were staying there.”

Together, Amico came up with a plan: to provide these unsung heroes with some fresh home-cooked meals from Spago, a local Italian restaurant.

However, things quickly ballooned beyond their initial plan.

“We wanted to bring them fresh home-cooked meals from Spago,” Dave reports. “We originally planned on doing this with a couple of donations from our staff but it just blew up into an initiative across the board for people working in the construction industry, including our competitors. Everyone set aside their differences and came to the table with one focus and one goal: to do the right thing, to help these warriors.”

Christine Stockwell, a Windsor Regional Hospital Registered Nurse.

Before long, word of their endeavors spread like wildfire throughout the city with numerous other companies signing on to help.

“I had reached out to a few of these companies,” Dave explains. “And basically, word spread throughout these various organizations including the Windsor Construction Association and the Highway Construction Organization of Windsor. Soon, we were able to secure ongoing funding for our initiative.”

Dave was astonished by the community’s outpouring of generosity.

“It was pretty amazing,” Dave states. “Other companies have become involved such as SBT Construction, A-Linx Building Technologies and The Storage Box, Bin There Dump That—all of whom provided a monetary donation. The Storage Box has even committed to delivering the meals every week with their flatbed trucks!”

With more and more organizations coming onboard to help, these frontline workers have a whole coalition of construction companies rallying around them.

“Riverside Rentals has come on board, as well as the Windsor Wall and Ceiling Contractor’s Association and Facca Incorporated,” Dave explains. “When I reached out to Don Gardonio, the President of Facca, he said, ‘Anything I can do to help.’”

Together, these construction companies have been able to provide the Holiday Inn Express frontline workers with 64 fresh meals a week.

“The big picture is now how this continues to grow,” Dave explains. “More and more companies are coming onboard. It really is special to see people in our industry coming to the table to help out during these challenging, unforeseen times.”

Dave has also been using Amico’s social media channels to drum up even more community support.

“The original plan that we set forth on our social media wasn’t to get on a soapbox and announce to the world: ‘Look at what we’re doing!’” Dave clarifies. “It was: ‘Can you help? Can you follow our example?’ And it worked! I had Phil from Riverside Rentals call me last week and say: ‘Come on by and pick up a cheque.’”

Gary Provenzano, the Executive Chef at Spago.

Dave, like many in his profession, has been blown away by Windsor’s response to their endeavors.

“The community’s reaction has been unbelievable,” Dave states. “They’ve been responsive. They’ve sent emails and text messages and wrote messages of encouragement. I’ve sent screenshots to the people we’ve showcased, and the response is always: ‘Thank you so much for keeping us safe.’ I send those to the volunteers just to warm their hearts. To let them know that the community is behind them 110%. When I tell people, ‘Hey, 15000 people just saw you
delivering a Spago meal.’ It’s reassuring to them because they know that they’re doing the right thing for the right reasons.”

However, even more astonishing is the messages Dave and his colleagues have been receiving from the frontline workers themselves.

“They’re very thankful,” Dave states. “I’ve received tons of emails from them. A lot of Facebook messages. It’s been absolutely amazing, the response. It really is something special to hear. When you get the sincerity of a frontline worker who’s at the receiving end of what we’re doing, it makes it that much more special to continue to do it. And that’s what we’re going to do.”

Dave Hunter, the Senior Manager of Business Development and Marketing at Amico.

Dave and the other companies are committed to keeping this meal service going as long as those frontline workers need them.

“We’re in very difficult times,” Dave explains. “A lot of people joke and say that this has been the Year of Hell and they’re not wrong. Our goal has been to shed some positive light on our circumstances. And so far, it’s been working.”

However, Dave continues to express empathy for these frontline workers.

“I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be away from my family,” Dave states. “I have three kids. Previously, I was able to spend three to four hours a day with my kids. They go to daycare, they go to school. They eat dinner, they go to bed. Having this time at home has really opened my eyes to what’s important. But these frontline workers are away from their families. It has to be a very difficult, very emotional time.”

To ease their burden, this coalition of generous construction companies remains dedicated to serving Windsor’s bravest warriors for as long as necessary.

“We’re not doing it for the recognition,” Dave explains. “We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do.”

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