WIMCO employees define community with Rose Haven work day

Published 8:15 pm Thursday, August 30, 2018

Anyone driving down East Third Street last Friday morning likely saw a crowd of people at a historic home. They were inside and outside the circa-1890s house and its backyard barn, some tearing down interior walls and shoring up others; some hauling decades-worth of items stored in the barn; others removing old electrical wires — all of them working together for a common cause.

The cause is Rose Haven, which will eventually become home to female veterans in recovery from addiction, abuse and/or post-traumatic stress disorder. Those doing the work were the people of WIMCO, including president Kevin Rawls, CEO Jeryl Rawls, project manager Josh Eddings, and their employees, from the entire office management staff to those who work in the field.

STRUCTURED: WIMCO employees have stripped the inside down to its bare basics on a quest to repair the structural integrity of Rose Haven. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

It’s a unique partnership that prompted WIMCO to leave a skeleton crew at the office and invite its employees to take part in a Rose Haven work day. Long-time supporters of veterans, the company signed on to help complete the project started by Rob Greene Sands, CEO of Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities, by drawing on company resources and WIMCO relationships built through the years.

“I think we’re on a very positive trajectory toward completion,” Sands said. “I think WIMCO brings a lot to the table that we just didn’t have, so we’re very grateful they adopted us as a project.”

CONTRIBUTION: Jeryl Rawls, CEO of WIMCO, was on site last Friday, seen painting a small patch of Rose Haven’s exterior. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

“It’s a strong construction market right now, but you never want to lose sight of the people who need those types of services,” Eddings said. “We don’t ever want to be too busy to give. … It’s something we certainly want to do more of. We’re working on planning the next (work day) now; we just have to pencil in a date and put it out there.”

PRISC’s mission encompasses both building sustainable communities for veterans through several projects, of which Rose Haven is the first, as well as historic preservation, by building those communities through the rehabilitation of historic homes. As with most historic homes left to linger without residents, Rose Haven’s restoration necessitated stripping the house down to its most basic parts and rebuilding.

THE RIGHT PATH: Rob Greene Sands, CEO of Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities, describes the coming meditation space and gardens from the new path leading between the two planned features. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

“For all practical purposes, we’ve taken the house down to its bones. And some of those bones have been found lacking,” Sands said.

“It depends on which room you’re in,” Eddings said. “It’s definitely got some work to be done, just because of the age of it. There’s some structural repairs that still need to be made, but it’s nothing unachievable.”

Eddings referred to WIMCO’s role in the project as that of facilitator and sounding board, but Sands said the company’s volunteerism has also spurred other businesses, and individuals, to become involved. Structural engineer Mark Roy, civil engineer Brian O’Kaine, Greenville-based Old Castle-Adam Products, BE Singleton & Sons, S&S Trailer and Container Rental, Watson & Sons, Marshall Taylor on his big John Deere tractor, Frederick Benston volunteering another — all have pitched in to the ongoing renovations in a variety of ways, from clearing land to donating pavers, to digging the front walkway and incorporating an interesting piece of the past into the walkway’s design. In the 1930s, the barn was a blacksmith’s shop and that history will now be permanently on display.

ESTIMATION: Leighton Murphy, WIMCO’s vice president of estimating, takes a break from assessing the structural needs of Rose Haven’s barn. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

“There was a lot of old blacksmith stuff (in the barn), and there was this wheel we found that weighed a ton,” Sands said. “It certainly resonates with what we’re trying to do with the project — reclaiming and reusing what we can in the house,” Sands said, adding that the find complements the mission as a whole: “A circle has always represented wholeness and completion.”

While PRISC’s focus is building the veterans community, the restoration of Rose Haven is facilitating the growth of another, that of people invested in helping the greater community.

“It really underscores what community is all about when businesses step up and take on the passion and the mission,” Sands said. “I can’t say enough about WIMCO.”

PRISC, along with Arts of the Pamlico, Realtor Alexis Davis, Carryout by Chrislyn, WIMCO, and others will hold a garden party fundraiser at Rose Haven, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., Sept. 20. The event includes champagne/dessert, a tour of the Betty Ann Sands Healing and Artful Gardens at Rose Haven and its supportive programming, with music by members of the Beaufort County Community Orchestra. Tickets are $20 per person. To reserve, email robert@pamlicorose.org or go online to www.pamlicorose.org/store.