From the site’s managers to its operators, Shell volunteers have devoted their spare time to refurbishing public buildings and venues in the local community, including the Boys & Girls Club, Veterans Memorial Building, Martinez Senior Community Center, Martinez Public Library, Martinez Historical Museum and the John Muir Amphitheater.
A partner in the refurbishment was the refinery’s painting contractor, Redwood Painting Company, whose employees power-washed the building, patched stucco and added decorative molding to the roof and entryway. Other partners included CRI; Sherwin Williams, which donated the paint; and the city of Martinez, which funded new windows and the extension of a wrought-iron fence. About 25 Shell employees painted the building in brown tones to blend with the City Hall across the plaza.
"They gave the club, which was quite an eyesore, a facelift. It's been transformed into a really nice building on the outside, and the kids love it," said Tuong Truong, the club's CEO. They coincidentally treat the outside a lot better because it’s cleaner and nicer."
The club's programs fill so many important needs for children that Shell has remained a devoted supporter for years. Shell employees have supplemented their company’s financial contributions through volunteerism.
"We are very fortunate and lucky that we have the support of such a generous refinery and company," Truong commented. "Shell has been a part of pretty much anything you see that's been enhanced as far as facilities. Additionally, they are one of our larger annual financial contributors, so they keep the facilities going for the kids, as well as allow us to run the programs."
Shell volunteers refurbish other buildings
The sprucing up of the Boys & Girls Club came on the heels of another renovation by Shell employees. In spring 2010, when the Martinez community decided to refresh the Veterans Memorial Building, refinery volunteers rallied to the cause.
The building is considered an enduring asset to the city and extremely significant to U.S. military veterans living in the area. The Shell team wanted to honor these service men and women by painting the building’s exterior. About 20 volunteers accomplished the job in two weeks. Redwood and Sherwin Williams contributed again, along with Contra Costa County and Shell contractors Contra Costa Electric, Rental Service Corporation and Brand Scaffolding.
“We are all so thrilled and very thankful for what they did. People have made wonderful statements about how nice everything looks,” said Dave Jackson, building manager and president of the Veterans Memorial Building board of directors. “We are currently painting the inside of the auditorium now. Shell’s paint job on the outside kicked it off. It was of tremendous value to us."
The project won points with Shell too. “We walked away with many new friends. It is so heartening to drive down the street and see the building now,” said Cathy Ivers, the refinery’s volunteer coordinator.
Redwood Painting superintendent Steve Jackson, who managed his company’s participation in this and other refurbishment projects with Shell, heard numerous comments of gratitude from Martinez residents, particularly veterans.
"The vets were ecstatic we were doing something for them. They were thanking us, but we should be thanking them,” Jackson said.
Another grateful recipient of Shell’s efforts was the Martinez Senior Community Center. In 2007, volunteers put a new face on the building and gave it a sophisticated gray-green color.
Redefining Educational Services (RES) was a beneficiary of Shell’s enhancement efforts in June 2005. RES provides a supportive place for developmentally disabled individuals to learn and become self reliant. Volunteers from the refinery’s Central Maintenance department and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union joined Shell contractors Redwood, Aluma Systems, Contra Costa Electric, Rental Service Corporation and Discovery Landscaping to restore a RES group home.
In 2004, Shell employees renovated the Martinez Public Library. First, the refinery’s leadership team painted the library’s interior. Shortly afterwards, Shell decided the exterior − a larger, more expensive endeavor − was in dire need of some TLC. Ivers organized the project with help from Redwood Painting. Working in shifts, the volunteers finished the job in less than three weeks, replacing the drab mustard coating with striking sage green and cream colors.
“We could not have done these projects without Redwood Painting; they are the pros,” Ivers said.
The allure of giving back to the community motivated Redwood to participate in the building renovations.
“I grew up in Martinez. It’s gratifying that we’re able to put something back in the community, and it’s rewarding for our company. I enjoy joining in with Shell to do these projects,” Jackson said.
The Martinez Historical Museum and John Muir Amphitheater also benefited from Shell’s renovation work and financial support. In fact, Shell volunteers shouldered a hefty share of constructing the amphitheater. Later, they built picnic tables, installed landscape plants and trees and ushered at the performances.
“It’s great that we can affect the way our community looks,” Ivers said.