Final Coat: Fast Forward Two Years

Under the theme “Play it Forward” during our 30th anniversary year in 2015, NWFA launched a series of community service programs within three key communities we serve: our industry, our hometown and our home country.

In our industry, under the direction of current Chairman Tommy Maxwell, we launched the NWFA Education & Research Foundation’s Legacy Scholarship program with a twofold mission: to honor those who helped build the NWFA from its humble beginnings and in years since; and to help those coming into the industry with training scholarships. To date, 24 industry legends have been honored through scholarship donations of more than $100,000 for students attending NWFA training.

In our hometown, NWFA adopted The Little Bit Foundation as our staff endeavor. Our employees volunteer in schools and at the foundation’s headquarters every two weeks. We go in groups of four so everyone gets a regular opportunity to spend time helping to provide school uniforms, coats, shoes, book bags, notebooks and more to school-age children living below the poverty line in
St. Louis city schools.

NWFA staff volunteering at The Little Bit Foundation.
NWFA staff volunteering at
The Little Bit Foundation.

Our NWFA students and instructors who attend training at NWFA headquarters also do their little bit – donating their hotel toiletries and bringing books to training classes. The staff time we spend out of the office is well worth it – while going on a team outing in itself has its benefits, there is nothing quite like watching a little kid’s face light up when he or she gets shoes that actually fit, a winter coat that may also serve as a blanket in an unheated home, or a simple toiletry kit. Every little bit does matter.

In Supporting Wounded Veterans One Floor at a Time, you read about our national level efforts, and how the Gary Sinise Foundation made a difference to Army CPT Luis Avila and his family. On the day his home was dedicated, it was not only a special day for the Avila family, but also for the NWFA family. NWFA Chairmen, past, present, and future took part in the project, and the dedication ceremony took place on Veteran’s Day in a suburb of Washington, D.C.

CPT Luis Avila and his family in their new smart home. Photo courtesy of Gary Sinise Foundation.
Luis Avila house in Bethesda Maryland with the Gary Sinise Foundation.

When I attempted to count how many mill workers, company employees, delivery guys and installers made this 6,000 sq. ft. home come to life for CPT Avila, his wife, Claudia, and their three sons, I soon figured out that we had our own flooring army of more than 300 involved in some way.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and in our case it took an industry to give one family a hard surface floor that makes their mobility just a little bit easier.

This dawned on me when Tommy, Beth, Wil and Kristi Maxwell, on behalf of Maxwell Hardwood Floors, presented a book about the making of their unfinished engineered floors used in the home to the Avila family at the home’s dedication. The book displayed pictures of Maxwell’s employees holding up “Welcome Home” banners, making the floors, and most importantly, showing thanks for the sacrifice that the Avila family made in protecting their right to make floors in the United States.

In addition to Maxwell’s proud American workers in Arkansas, add the employees at Derr Flooring in Philadelphia who arranged for Armstrong’s commercial grade flooring made in Kentucky to be used in the lower level of the Avila home. Add to Maxwell, Derr, and Armstrong, the installation, sanding, and finishing skills of C&R Flooring in Boston and Brazilian Floors LLC in Beltsville, Maryland, along with the adhesive and finishing products of Florida’s MAPEI and Colorado’s Bona, and you have a good picture of just how many moving parts of NWFA came together for this one special home.

In less than two years, our army of members who have come together through NWFA to support our returning military heroes is unbelievable. More than $1 million in product donations, logistics and installation services to date.

NWFA partnered with this R.I.S.E. program so that its U.S. members would have an opportunity to work together in an organized manner across the United States…to participate in making something big happen for a fellow American who more than deserves the comfort and ease of living on hardwoods.

As we move forward into the future, we recognize that we are a global industry, and that there will be other ways we can harness our NWFA members’ amazing spirit of giving beyond our own home borders. But for now, we are grateful for the “extra” things we’ve been able to do in less than two years in these communities.