Thank you, Westwind Construction and Team Elmer's, for your passion

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When Westwind Construction was first approached about helping BrickWays increase and improve their housing options, Peter Oleszczuk, vice president of construction, didn’t hesitate to jump on board.

BrickWays mission is close to his heart. He had already worked with a similar organization in Grand Haven, where Westwind got its start.

Oleszczuk, son of the founder of the 40-year-old company, was born and raised next door to a neighbor and friend who had a family member with special needs.

“She was high functioning, but limited in what society expected she could do,” he says of his friend’s sister.

“I am passionate about the cause,” says Oleszczuk. “I believe there is a way of life that people should be given a chance to be a part of no matter what their situation.”

That is why Westwind, now expanded into the Traverse City area, has taken on drawing up realistic construction plans for BrickWays.

“They haven’t charged us for any of their management or consultation. “ says Footh. “This project wouldn’t be feasible if we paid commercial rates.”

“We want to help them get all their pre-construction ducks in a row with limited expense,” says Oleszczuk.

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Such support is critical for success. Another company that has gotten behind BrickWays is Team Elmer's, an excavating company started in Tra- verse City, but, like Westwind, now grown to cover much of Michigan.

“We appreciate partnering with BrickWays and helping an under-served population. It’s humbling,” says Tonya Wildfong, Team Elmer’s communications director.

“BrickWays is doing wonderful work,” adds Wildfong.

The company was purchased by Wildfong’s father “Butch” Broad in 1977 when founder Elmer Schaub retired. The three grown Broad children now run the company. Wildfong says they came to know BrickWays in 2013 when approached for their help building a handicap ramp for one of BrickWays existing CLC homes. In 2014, Team Elmer’s donated $5000 worth of materials and labor toward building a driveway for Sandy’s Fairway. That same year, Tonya’s brother, Troy Broad, now company president of Team Elmer’s, danced at a Swingshift fundraiser. Although he won dancing for another non-profit, he got to know Footh who danced for BrickWays. They stayed in touch.

“Team Elmer’s really believes in what we’re doing.” says Footh. “Here we are, together again.”

“It’s interesting how things keep coming up for a reason. It’s definitely a blessing,” say Wildfong of the opportunities that keep bringing them together. 

Susan Onan