Friday, July 29, 2011

RTS Energizer: Lorna Jackson, Perkins Coie

"Lorna Jackson was on site at 7:30 a.m." Project Leader Lisa Miner said.  "Right away she asked how she could help and started working with the volunteers to sign them up for tasks.  She painted, spent time with the homeowner, was a runner to Home Depot, got dinner for our project manager and stayed until 10 p.m.  She never stopped working or smiling.  Lorna was a great addition to the Perkins Coie/Intellectual Ventures team." 
Lorna (left front, holding her hat), with the Intellectual Ventures and Perkins Coie Team!
Great Work Lorna!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RTS Energizer: Brett Barker, Krekow Jennings


Brett with Parkview residents Lisa and Dan

"We were able to pull off the Parkview Services project due to Brett's incredible finish carpentry skills and leadership," Project Manager, Pat Cabe, said.   "Brett made a handful of site visits prior to the big day in order to measure and as-built the casework.  In addition, Brett spent a week working late in the shop after his work day at KJ was over to build and finish the casework.  Brett donated drawer slides, fasteners, hinges and screws from his own shop.  On the big day, Brett was the first one at the jobsite and the last one to leave.  In addition to putting in the time, Brett made a great connection with other volunteers as well as the house tenants due to his positive attitude and engaging personality." 

Great work, Brett!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

RTS Energizer: Monte Szendre, Center for Spiritual Living

Project leader for the Center for Spiritual Living team, Tim Brincefield, chose Monte Szendre, as their site's RTS Energizer.

"Monte Szendre was the top Energizer of our Center for Spitiual Living team's 15th annual project," Tim explained.  "Monte worked a Friday and 2 Saturdays at the Horace Mann School, doing whatever needed doing from electrical to floors with a great attitude. The 1st Saturday Monte teamed with his son Duane the electrician (who flew in from Wenatchee to work with Monte) to do the electrical work the school needed. Then he arranged for donations of scaffolding and floor scrubber/polishers from United Rentals. Then he took on the task of stripping 40 years of wax and grime from acres of vinyl floors, and when the rest of us were ready to throw in the towel, he rented a Zamboni--and operated it all day-- to get the job done. His team made those floors look like new. Monte's spirit, commitment, and can-do attitude regardless of the challenge made him our top Energizer for 2011."

Excellent work, Monte!

Visit our donation page to make a donation to RTS in Monte's honor!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Board Member of the Month: Dan Gemme

Join the Rebuilding Together Seattle community in welcoming Dan Gemme, VP of Operations at Turner Construction, to our Board of Directors!  Dan previously served on the Board for the Rebuilding Together Portland affiliate.  We are all very excited to have Dan join the RTS board!!

“We are thrilled to have Dan join our Board," RTS Executive Director, Margie Thirlby said.  "Dan will bring a wealth of Rebuilding Together experience to our affiliate through his involvement in Portland and Pittsburgh.  Dan will be instrumental in helping fine tune and further develop our programs through his personal and professional networks.   Dan’s positive attitude, leadership, and support of our mission will be an asset to RTS.”

Dan (right) with co-project manager, Tony Sanchez,
at the Sounders FC and Turner Construction Rebuilding Day

1. How did you first get involved with RTS? 

I was first introduced to Rebuilding Together by a friend in Pittsburgh about 15 years ago.  My first experience was that of a House Captain on the home of an elderly woman.  During the planning of the project, I was able to spend a considerable amount of time with her discussing everything from the color of paint to the meaning of life.  Throughout the short period of time that our paths crossed, I was touched by her stories about her family and friends and inspired by her graciousness.

2. What do you enjoy most about being a board member for RTS? 

I enjoy working with a group of individuals who thrive on making things happen!  It's always been interesting to me how a group of people from entirely different backgrounds can band together for a great cause.  I find it energizing to see the difference we can collectively make on the lives of people in need of little help.

3.  What are your hopes for RTS in the years to come?  

It's no secret that the recent economy has had detrimental impact on our community.  Because of this, the services that we provide have become ever more important to low-income homeowners.  It's vital that we strive to increase our ability to help through strategic partnerships and by maximizing the value of every dollar spent.

Dan (right) with the homeowners, Sounders players,
and co-project manager, Tony (left)

Welcome, Dan!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tony Ventrella to EmCee RTS Beer & Wine Tasting Fundraiser on September 30th

Rebuilding Together Seattle is pleased to announce our EmCee for our 2nd Annual Beer & Wine Tasting fundraiser (9-30-11): Tony Ventrella!

Let's hear from Tony:

How did you first learn about Rebuilding Together Seattle? What was your first experience with our organization?

I found out about RTS by covering one of their volunteer events at a home in South Park for I was very impressed with the number of volunteers and the efficiency of the overall effort.

2. Why do you support the mission of Rebuilding Together Seattle?

I support Rebuilding Together Seattle because I try to follow something I was taught as a child. “Give something of yourself every chance you get,” was my mother’s advice. Also I really like people and enjoy making people smile whenever I can.

3. What
are you looking forward to through your participation at our event?

I’m looking forward to meeting people I’ve never met and helping spread awareness about the program. I’m also looking forward to hanging our with RTS Executive Director Margie Thirlby, I heard she was really cool..

Tony with his grandchildren, Preston, Emmett, and Edie!

Tony - thank you for your support of our organization! We are excited to work with you this Fall!

Want to join Tony at the Beer &Wine Tasting?

Our invitation to our 2nd Annual Beer and Wine Tasting event on Friday, September 30th at REI (5:00 PM) will be released in upcoming weeks! To add your name to our invite list, please email and we'll be sure to send you the details. In the meantime, visit Thank you for your support!

Volunteer of the Month: Pat Cabe

Pat has been volunteering with Rebuilding Together Seattle since 2004. Each year, Pat acts as Project Manager for Krekow Jennings' Spring Rebuilding Day project. Pat is also a member of the RTS Site Preview Team that evaluates the repairs at homes during the application process. Recently, Pat has also expressed interest in joining the Year-Round Program Team to assist with smaller repairs at homes throughout the year! Pat has truly become a much relied on asset to the staff and an integral part of the RTS family! Thank you for your support and dedication, Pat!!

Pat, working hard during Spring Rebuilding Day 2010!

Thank you for your continued support of RTS!

1. Why did you choose to get involved with RTS?

I chose to get involved due to the RTS mission (warmth, safety, security) and the fact RTS has been able to help so many people. As a whole It is also amazing to see what can be accomplished by a group of volunteers in a one day project. Working in construction, RTS is a perfect outlet for volunteering.
2. What do you enjoy the most about working with our organization?

Above all I enjoy the fact that in a one day timeframe we make a real difference in someone's life. The camaraderie and sense of accomplishment shared by the volunteers and home owner during a rebuild day is invaluable.

3. What do your colleagues or other volunteers say about RTS?

It's interesting how often you hear about RTS and how many people have become involved. Whether it be volunteers, corporate donors or friends, I get a lot of questions as to when or what the next project will be. A lot of people may join a project as a first time volunteer, but they quickly get hooked and want to sign up for more.

4. Why do they want to volunteer their time?

Our groups volunteer their time because they believe in helping the homeowner. Volunteers are drawn to RTS because the Rebuild Day tasks vary from very complicated and technical to more simplified work that anyone can take on. Though it is a lot of work on the rebuild day, it is also a lot of fun.

5. What about RTS’ mission are you most drawn to?

In a lot of ways the group of people we help are overlooked or neglected by those that are in a position to lend a hand. Oftentimes RTS is the only place people can turn to for the specialized services we provide. Whether the need is due to a disability, age, or economics, RTS steps up and provides the resources necessary to complete the job.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thank You, SRD In-Kind Donors!

Rebuilding Together Seattle wants to send a big THANK YOU to our Spring Rebuilding Day In-Kind Donors. RTS relies heavily on in-kind donations so that we are able to leverage our funding to provide $4 dollars worth of home repairs for every $1 dollar donated. The following companies collectively donated over $37,000 worth of materials and labor to one or more of our 25 free home repair projects that took place on April 30th, 2011:


THANK YOU, In-Kind Donors!!!!

Spring Rebuilding Day is Rebuilding Together Seattle's annual program event that takes place on the last Saturday in April.  Every year, RTS provides free home repairs to 25 low-income homeowners who are elderly, disabled,  families with children, or a nonprofit facility. For information on how to get involved, contact Program Manager, Sarah Ihrie at

Friday, July 8, 2011

RTS welcomes Summer Intern, Claire Oatey!

RTS is pleased to welcome Claire Oatey as our new Summer Program & Development Intern!


"I was born and raised in Seattle where I attended Roosevelt High School until 2007. I just recently graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington this past May. I was a Sociology major with an Educational Studies minor, a member of the Delta Gamma sorority, and served as an intern my senior year for one of five student-led community service programs offered at Whitman.

Claire with her parents at college graduation!

Before I go back to school to get my teaching certificate and masters, I am excited to gain experience in the non-profit world (something I would like to continue to be involved in) and hope to find some time to travel. Currently my sights are set on Southeast Asia, but I always find myself thinking about a trip back to Cape Town, South Africa where I studied for half the year in 2009. Meanwhile, I’ll spend my free time running around Greenlake, barbequing at Magnuson Park, watching Mariners games, catching up with old high school friends, and staying connected to Whitman alum in the Seattle area."

Claire (second from left) with her friends at Safeco Field. Go Mariners!


"I am very happy to be back in Seattle and have the opportunity to work for RTS. RTS not only provides an invaluable service to the individual homeowners it helps, but it brings a sense of stability and hope to the neighborhood and from there, our city."

Thank you, Claire! We're excited to have you on board!

Say hi to Claire!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

RTS Energizer: Curtis Brown, Intellectual Ventures

Karen Fuller, Project Leader for the Intellectual Ventures project on Spring Rebuilding Day, elected Curtis Brown to be their RTS Energizer!


“The whole team at Intellectual Ventures did an awesome job," Karen said.  "This year we elected Curtis Brown as our team Energizer.  This was his first year helping with RTS, and he worked nonstop, making a big difference for our project.  He showed up with his wife Mary at 7:30am with a truck full of equipment that could be used for all different types of projects.  He was one of the first to arrive, and was one of the last to leave, around 7:30pm.  Curtis is a Contractor by trade and was able to help out wherever needed.  His attitude and willingness to make a difference in any capacity, was much appreciated.  At the end of the day, I think he probably had energy to take on another project if we had one for him!”

Excellent work, Curtis!

Visit our donation page to make a donation to RTS in Curtis's honor!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Meet the 2011-2012 YPS Executive Team! (Cody & Celeste)

Rebuilding Together Seattle is proud to announce the 2011-2012 Young Professionals Society (YPS) Executive Team: Cody Moore and Celeste Reilly!


Rebuilding Together veteran, Cody Moore served for two years as Program Director for Rebuilding Together Spokane, helping the affiliate achieve instrumental growth in projects completed, development efforts, volunteer commitment, and project values. He now works in Seattle in Public Relations and food safety advocacy for Marler Clark, the nation’s foremost law firm dedicated to representing victims of serious foodborne illness.

A product of the Palouse, Cody is a proud Pullman High School and Washington State University alumnus and is engaged to Laura Bagby, a fellow WSU graduate. They live in Woodinville with their two dogs, Manny and Gary. Gary is also from Pullman.

Cody believes Rebuilding Together is unique in that it brings immediate, tangible and positive change to both those in need and the community members who choose to get involved. He hopes to work hard to lead YPS in leaving an indelible mark on the homeowners it assists, as well as its members and the community at large.

Say hello to Cody! Email:


Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Celeste recently moved back to the Pacific Northwest after nine plus years of living in Southern California. Celeste is an alumna of Holy Names Academy. She also is an alumna of the University of Southern California with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science and Minor in French.

Celeste developed her passion for community service in high school and college. She is now a member of the nationally recognized Alpha Phi Omega (Community Service Co-Ed Fraternity) and has helped organize USC’s annual “Spirits in Action” (an alternative to the Special Olympics). She is excited to volunteer in the community and get back in touch with young professionals in the greater Seattle area.

Celeste currently works at Starbucks Coffee Company as the Sr. Legal Administrative Assistant for the Corporate & Securities Division of Law & Corporate Affairs. Among other things, this position allows her to pursue her interest in the law and keep a steady supply of coffee on hand.

Outside of work, you’ll find Celeste walking around Greenlake or going on hikes in the nearby mountains with friends and family. She just walked from Ballard to Richmond Beach and is excited to ride her new bike around the city. She is also a yoga and volleyball enthusiast. Please reach out to her if you are too!

Celeste’s hopes for YPS: “My hopes are that we (as group) 1. nurture a strong connection with more young professionals who are enthusiastic about RTS’ mission of giving back to the community, and 2. create a sustainable and recognized group to empower more young professionals in the surrounding area and have a great environment to network.”

Say hello to Celeste! Email: