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Longtime volunteer retires from ReStore’s salvage team

Betty Howlett was recognized by Woolwich Community Services this week with the Yvonne Reid volunteer of the year award. The Elmira resident also became the first person to receive a 30 years of service award from the organization when the group met for its annual volunteer appreciation event April 20 at the St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre. [Scott Barber / The Observer]
St. Jacobs’ Maynard Bauman recently retired after an 18-year stint as a salvage-team volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.[Submitted]
St. Jacobs’ Maynard Bauman recently retired after an 18-year stint as a salvage-team volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. [Submitted]
Maynard Bauman of St. Jacobs has led salvage-team crews taking down decks, garages, homes and even a church, all to gather material for sale at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

He has retired this spring after 18 years as a salvage-team volunteer, 12 of them as team leader.

In fact, the highly-successful program exists today largely because of his dedication.

His first job was helping to tear down a church in Bright. That was about two years after Betty Jane Rose started the first salvage operations in 1994 and Ann Jordan came on board soon after; Jordan continues to volunteer at the cash register on Saturdays.

Bauman took over management of salvage operations in 1997, looking for windows and doors that were in keen demand at the ReStore and lumber from decks, garages and a few mezzanines in industrial buildings.

He recruited a number of friends from the St. Jacobs and Elmira area and one came all the way from Macton and another from St. Agatha. Later more joined from Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.

“It’s a win-win-win situation,” says Bauman. The donor wins by reducing costs, the environment wins by keeping useful materials out of the landfill and Habitat for Humanity wins by salvaging items that can be sold to defray administrative expenses. There is, in fact, a fourth set of winners – the people who get an affordable house built by Habitat.

Among some of the bigger projects the salvage team has tackled were about 20 homes to make way for a parking lot for Mutual Life (now Sun Life) on King Street, Kitchener, beside Grand River Hospital, about six homes beside the former Freiburger grocery store in Elmira and more recently homes and a business demolished for the widening of Weber Street in Kitchener.

Today the majority of salvage projects are kitchen removals.

The pace has steadily increased as more people learn that the Habitat-for-Humanity volunteers will do a good salvage job and there are charitable benefits.

When Bauman stepped back from supervising teams in 2009, Habitat hired Doug Crease, a retired school teacher, and when he moved out of the Waterloo Region, John Unruh, a retired construction manager briefly ran the salvage teams until he moved to Western Canada. Carl Zintel, a retired Waterloo Region Police officer, is now in charge.

Bauman has another passion – his hobby using a lathe to turn out decorative bowls from tree burls.

Zintel fondly calls his team of volunteers, almost all of them retired men, “my termites” and he keeps them busy, especially during the spring home-renovations season.

“I’m going to miss Maynard,” he says. “He knows so much about the work.”

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