Help Without Hesitation

TMMMS team members pitch in to repair a Tupelo domestic violence shelter badly damaged in a summer storm

October 09, 2018

To the Rescue -- TMMMS team members (left to right) Nathan Tutor, John Paul Blaylock, Daniel Stegall and Chad McCarley welcome SAFE's Shirley Lawrence to the new-and-improved entryway to the nonprofit's daycare center.

As John Paul Blaylock tells the story, he was in his kitchen talking with his wife on a Monday evening in July when his phone rang.
 
Roberta Davis, Human Resources manager at Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Mississippi (TMMMS) was on the other end of the line.
 
“I just said, ‘Yeah,’ and got in my truck and took off,” says the TMMMS paint group leader. “I conducted a go and see activity.”
 
Blaylock’s destination was SAFE, a domestic violence, rape crisis and homeless services provider in Tupelo. Over the weekend, the nonprofit’s daycare center had been badly damaged by an intense thunderstorm.
 
When Davis, who serves on SAFE’s board of directors, saw what happened, she had a hunch Blaylock could help. After all, he’d played a lead role in TMMMS team members’ efforts to restore and refurbish Tombigbee State Park in conjunction with National Public Lands Day.
 
She was right.


After the Storm -- Here's what the daycare center looked like in the immediate aftermath of a violent summer storm.

Repaired and Improved
 
Blaylock took photos of the damaged structure, formed a team, drew up a plan of action and created a materials list. Hard costs were $162.17, which team members covered via donations.
 
Then, just a week after the storm, Blaylock and three of his colleagues — Nathan Tutor, Daniel Stegall and Chad McCarley — went to work, repairing an awning and supporting structure, cleaning debris off the facility’s roof and grounds and pressure washing a stairway and the surrounding concrete. In true kaizen spirit, they also fabricated and installed a new handrail to improve the functionality and safety of the daycare center.


Making It Better -- McCarley and Tutor fabricate a new handrail, a safety feature that didn't exist before the storm.

All told, the four team members volunteered 33 hours over two days on the project — with the full support of the Paint and Production Control departments’ management.
 
“SAFE had insurance, but they hadn’t met their deductible for the year so they would have had to pay for the repairs out of their pockets,” says Blaylock. “I estimate a contractor would have charged $1,800 and it would have taken much longer to get it done. I’m glad Roberta thought of me and my team.”
 
“The people I work with at SAFE were extremely grateful that Toyota stepped in to help them,” says Davis. “We are so fortunate to have folks like John Paul who not only have the skills and tools to take on something like this but also the willingness to drop everything and help. I think it speaks volumes about the character of our team members and our company.”
 
By Dan Miller

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