The Fairway Foundation started on this project five years ago. It took over two years to identify and purchase the house. They enlisted the Long Island Interior Design Society (IDS LI) and their “Pay It Forward East” campaign to brighten the place up a bit. Several of them were also members of the NYC/Long Island branch of National Association of Remodeling Industries (NARI). They started getting a little more ambitious, and that group came on as a full-fledged partner. The donations of expertise, elbow grease and materials began to snowball.
“The fundraising. What a miracle!” said Steve Probst of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. “The $150,000+ that it took just to buy the house, including the closing costs and everything, had our Foundation pretty much tapped out. Then these comedians and bands stepped up to perform for free at fundraising concerts for our Purple Heart Campaign. That, together with so many suppliers and designers and builders and other professionals donating so much are really what made this happen.”
“This was a total collaboration of IDS members coming together to work with the Fairway Foundation,” said Joe Calise of Sights-N-Sounds, President of IDS LI. “Others jumped in, all coming together for this wonderful cause. We needed contractors. A lot of our members are also members of NARI, so it was natural for us to ask them. They stepped up in a big way. It was great!”
Lisa Aiello of Rich Designs noted that, “I think this project is so successful because everyone managed to check their egos at the door, making it that much easier to work cohesively together.”
“We renovated this house from top to bottom. There’s well over $100,000 worth of renovation work in here.” said John Probst, Steve’s son, who happens to be a builder.
“Coastal Cabinet, Plessers Appliances and the charitable arm of NARI probably donated about $15,000 in labor alone,” said Eric Vogel of Coastal Cabinet Works, “Sheetrocking, doing the bathroom and the whole kitchen…. The leadership did a great job of rallying our troops to serve this veteran.”
John Hogan, past President and current Treasurer of NARI NYC/LI reflected on this, “As NARI Community Service Chairman, I have learned that our members and most people in our industry want to be charitable with their time and pocket books, and appreciate a push in the right direction. We prefer to work with credible organizations, so we know the people in need have been well vetted. In the last few years we have helped major renovations with Fairway Mortgage, Habitat for Humanity, Long Island Harvest, Make a Wish Foundation and Ronald McDonald House. I spend many weekends and nights, sometimes with dozens of NARI members, planning these projects. After a week of dealing with my customers, spending the weekend working for a great cause makes me feel great. I sleep better knowing I made a difference."