Ceramic Tile Industry & TPFH Helping Rebuild Gulf Coast
 
November 1st, 2006

November-December 2006

A little more than a year ago, Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast region, destroying countless homes and lives. While much of the region is still recovering, there are signs of rebuilding—thanks in part to the tile industry.

Industry members have donated for 67 Habitat for Humanity homes in six communities—Jackson, MS; Bay St. Louis, MS; Gulfport, MS; Gautier, MS; New Orleans, LA, and Houston, TX. Many other projects will need tile in the coming months in these communities and others—and TPFH needs your help for them as well. To date, industry partners have supplied materials for 8 homes in late April and 20 homes this fall for Habitat projects in Jackson. Crossville, Inc. and Orchid Ceramics donated tile, Laticrete supplied setting materials, James Hardie Building Products supplied backerboard and MD Building Products supplied tools. Bart Bettiga, executive director of the Jackson-based National Tile Contractors Association, Gerald Sloan, director of training and education, and Bob Brown, membership director, will train Habitat staff and volunteers to set tile in the homes.

On donating for hurricane relief projects, Laticrete North American President Ed Metcalf said, “We have people there that were affected by the storms, people who themselves are involved in rebuilding on a very personal level. We’re committed to rebuilding so that all of the people of this historic and beautiful place can come home and help it to regain its characteristic strength and unique vitality.” The Metro Jackson affiliate is coordinating projects in Hancock County. Nine homes will be tiled with materials from Orchid Ceramics and Custom Building Products. CBP New Orleans-area Territory Manager Scott Nalesnik also coordinated and led an installation training session for AmeriCorps members in Bay St. Louis. Nalesnik and CBP Technical Service Representatives David Segura of Little Rock, Arkansas, and Vann Clayton of Birmingham, Alabama, worked with volunteers to install tile. Nalesnik, a New Orleans resident, reflected on what it was like to help:

“Living outside of New Orleans for all of my life, you take everything for granted around you. When Katrina hit, we went from Beaumont, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana, and finally wound up in Thibodaux, Louisiana. For three and a half weeks, we could not return to our homes. In the weeks after returning home the things that you take for granted like Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and gas stations were not open…These were the things we had to deal with but they are minor compared to the people who had nothing to come back to. Spending time at the Habitat homes was really great.” The affiliates in Harrison and Jackson counties share resources, including materials from Dal-Tile Corp., Orchid Ceramics, Laticrete, North American Tile Tool Company and Easy Pull Tile Spacer.

Tiede Zoeller, a contractor in Gulfport, donated installation labor for one home in Gulfport and has pledged to lead an installation training session for Habitat staff and volunteers. XPress Global Systems donated freight to move the 2,400 square feet of material donated by Dal-Tile from Oklahoma to Mississippi. Orchid Ceramics General Manager Kurt Graves said, “It is a real honor for Orchid to partner with Habitat through TPFH. Orchid Ceramics is part of ‘Organizacion Corona,’ a Bogota-based company with a tremendous track record of helping to mend the social fabric in the communities where they do business. Habitat makes us a better company by giving us the opportunity to give back out of the richness we have received, lessening the natural tendency in all of us to be self-centered while making a real contribution to the lives of others. And that is not just good business; it is good for us as individuals too.”

The New Orleans affiliate intends start tiling homes before the end of 2006. Laticrete Senior Technical Sales Representative Jack LeBlanc of Baton Rouge led a training session for Habitat staff and volunteers. Orchid Ceramics, Laticrete, James Hardie Building Products, and NATTCO donated materials. Houston Habitat has built more homes for hurricane relief than any other individual Habitat affiliate—nearly 75 in one year. They will build an additional 30 homes between November and early 2007. Orchid Ceramics and Texas Cement Products will partner with them on several homes. The affiliate anticipates building a total of 80 homes between now and the end 2007.

Industry partners donated for several other projects this year, notably in Jacksonville and St. Petersburg, FL and Bentonville, AR. Crossville, Inc., Master Tile, Creative Touch Interiors, Elite Building Products, Tile Outlets of America, Orchid Ceramics and Laticrete have all donated materials for these projects. For more information on upcoming projects, please contact Tile Partners for Humanity Executive Director Allyson Fertitta at 770-416-0200 or ally@tpfh.com.

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