Rebuilding Together At COTS!

Saturday, June 24, 2017 was a special workday at Petaluma’s Mary Isaak Center, shelter for the homeless.  Wells Fargo Bank generously funded several major improvements and also supplied 55 employee volunteers who enthusiastically painted the 100 bed dormitory and all the restrooms. Many of the residents joined in and helped the day to be a smashing success.

Wells Fargo Volunteers (Photo Credit: RTP)

I  managed to capture some of their efforts in the photo gallery below.

Click on any image to open…

The team also included a special group of volunteers…




Ah April 16! Another Rebuilding Together Community Workday!

Yesterday, Rebuilding Together Petaluma (RTP) volunteers once again fanned out across the city to work in some of our parks or to help qualifying homeowners with critical maintenance needs. It should be noted that many of the home projects have been underway for some time meaning that it was not all done in one day. The volunteers have been hard at work for many days—rain or shine!

I had occasion to visit some of the worksites on April 16th and offer a few photos of the volunteers at work.  My selection, as usual, is arbitrary and capricious.


(Click On Any Image To Open The Gallery)

Rebuilding Together Petaluma–The stuff that needs to be done NOW!


Fast Water Heater Co. Teams Up with Rebuilding Together Petaluma (RTP) and Home Depot to Restore Hot Water for Elderly Veteran’s Widow in Petaluma…

DSCF6110RAWWEB A Petaluma homeowner turned on her faucet today and hot water poured out for the first time in nine months. Mrs. G. has been boiling water on her stove for her hot water needs since last June.

“My neighbor read an article in the paper about Rebuilding Together Petaluma, and she said she thought they might be able to help me out,” said Mrs. G.

As a low-income homeowner whose late husband served in the armed forces in the Korean War, Mrs. G. squarely qualifies to be a recipient of Rebuilding Together Petaluma’s home repair services.  RTP works to ensure that low-income homeowners receive the support they need to maintain safe and healthy residences. The non-profit organization relies on grants, donations and volunteers to complete its work.

Mrs. G’s home will undergo a series of repairs over the coming months, but the water heater situation could not wait. Rebuilding Together Petaluma’s Executive Director Jane Hamilton connected with

Both companies immediately agreed. The new water heater was in place within two weeks of the initial request.

“We are proud to have a presence in the greater Bay Area, and this is just one way for our company to show our appreciation,” said Fast Water Heater CEO Jason Hanleybrown. “It also fits with our company values – one of which is caring for the communities we serve.”

“We are very grateful to Fast Water Heater Company and Home Depot for their quick response to this situation,” noted Jane Hamilton of RTP. “They immediately understood the urgency and worked quickly to restore Mrs. G’s hot water. When businesses respond with in-kind donation of materials or services, it allows us to help even more people.”

RTP is still seeking donations and volunteers to help complete repairs to Mrs. G. home on May 3. Volunteers from Home Depot and the Coast Guard and retired members of the military are all expected to improve livability issues inside and out at Mrs. G. home. To volunteer or make a donation, go to

Rebuilding Together Petaluma strengthens the local safety net by repairing homes free of charge for the many low income homeowners in our community as well as renovating the facilities of non-profits that support them. Rebuilding Together Petaluma envisions a safe and healthy home for every person in our community.

According to RTP’s Jane Hamilton:

  • “Rebuilding Together Petaluma was established in our community in 1996, initially as Christmas in April. In the last 18 years RTP has repaired or added safety/energy efficiency features to almost 800 homes for low-income Petaluma homeowners, most of whom are elderly or disabled members of our community.”
  • “We fund this work through an annual grant from HUD and also through the generous donations of businesses and individuals in our community. Each year RTP directs the efforts of over 500 skilled and unskilled community volunteers towards those in our community who are in need of some helping hands. We sponsor and organize a large rebuilding day every April and October and we also offer year round services to those in need.”

Fast Water Heater Company serves all of the greater Bay Area with local operations in Marin, Napa and Sonoma as well as San Francisco and the Peninsula, the East Bay, the South Bay and San Jose. The company has been in business since 1985. Its website is

Rebuilding Together Petaluma…Celebrates its 17th on the 17th!

Rebuilding Together Petaluma (RTP) is celebrating it’s 17th year in Petaluma with a party and fundraiser on September 17th  (5:30-8:30pm) at Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma.


Wells Fargo through its Hometown Hero program is the lead sponsor for the fundraiser and for RTP’s October workday on October 19th. They will be sponsoring multiple projects in October and providing employee volunteers in their money for muscles program. Recently, representatives from Wells Fargo presented RTP with a check in support of the fundraiser and the upcoming October workday…

Left to Right: Uriel Medina, Wells Fargo; Jane Hamilton, RTP; and Jason Henderson,  Wells Fargo

Left to Right: Uriel Medina, Wells Fargo; Jane Hamilton, RTP; and Jason Henderson, Wells Fargo

In addition, several other  businesses have stepped up to the plate with donations in support of RTP’s fundraising effort:

  • Ghilotti Neighborhood Champion
  • Friedman Home Improvement Neighborhood Champion
  • Clover Neighborhood Champion
  • Devcon Home Saver

Tickets for the fundraiser are $25 which includes 1 free beer or wine, a paella dinner with salad by Bro’s BBQ, live music by D’bunchovus.

According to Jane Hamilton of RTP: “We will be auctioning off some great items and anyone donating over $150 at the event will receive a very cool disaster preparedness kit which includes an Eton hand turbine radio (you’re gonna want this one! Come celebrate RTP’s 17th year of putting hundreds of generous volunteers to work repairing homes for low-income homeowners and veterans in Petaluma. Let’s create safe and healthy homes for everyone in our community!”

It is important to point out that you do not have to be a skilled trades person to attend the event or to be a volunteer for RTP.  There are many  important volunteer workday tasks that merely require willing workers.

Tickets may be purchased at RTP’s office at 402 Petaluma Blvd North, or by clicking on this link to purchase online.


Rebuilding Petaluma…one home at a time

Journalist Frances Rivetti has just published an article about the upcoming Rebuilding Together Petaluma (RTP) volunteer workday on April 20th.

Her article provides a deep insight into the critical work of that organization in our community and some of the people that have been helped in the past…and who will be helped next month.

Check it out at Rebuilding Together Petaluma’s Upcoming Community Work Day Provides a Lifeline for Impoverished and Disabled Homeowners


Rebuilding (A Community) Together…Petaluma

“I believe that it is only by sharing our stories that we truly become one community.”

The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger

(New York Times Book Review, April 29, 2012)

In the spirit of this quote, I will attempt to share some of the stories from Rebuilding Together Petaluma’s workday on April 21st.

On April 21, 2012, Rebuilding Together Petaluma (RTP)* volunteers once again spread out across Petaluma to  assist five qualifying homeowners with major home repairs and modifications. In addition, RTP and Daily Acts conducted an educational work project to enhance the City Hall Gardens planted in 2009. The City Hall project was sponsored by Sonoma Bank and the Paula Lane Action Network.

While I have never seen a barn rasing, RTP workdays are, most likely, quite similar in terms of energy and human spirit.

In the past I have attempted to show a portion of these RTP projects through photos.  This time I will first provide some feedback  from two of the homeowners:

  • ” (We had)…all about gave up on humanity. We were in despair – until all of you came. Thank you for giving us hope and faith. Thank you also for your hard work, efforts, kindness and compassion. You’re truly our heroes. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU! With Joy and love.”
  • “The kindness of the volunteers meant much more than words could ever thank you for! It is humbling to receive this kind of help. Bless you all. My home is lovelier than it has been in years and years.”

Jane Hamilton of RTP reports that in one location: “The work day generated so much activity in the neighborhood, that several other homeowners started working on their places and within days all of the leftover compost and mulch were distributed into many yards.   Often when repairing a person’s home we inadvertently end up affecting the whole neighborhood as well!”

Jane also advises that the work on a  mobile home of a disabled veteran was particularly gratifying: “(Mr. R’s) mobile home (is now)…a cleaner, safer, more water and energy efficient, accessible home. Most of (the RTP volunteers did not) get to see the final product of (their) exceptionally hard work, because it took a few more days to finish, but the results were stunning. (Mr R.) asked me to express his deepest gratitude to all of you and let you know he feels he is living in a whole new world. He is exercising up and down the hallway 4 times a day with his new grab bars, able to use his kitchen and bathroom with ease, and he is extremely motivated by the amount of stuff gone from his home and yard.”

And now the photos!

Photographers Joan Bunn, Victor Kunkel, Guiseppe Lipari, and Joe Chatterton covered four of the work sites and I was at two homes in Leisure Lakes.

All photos are available by clicking on RTP’s SmugMug Page

PLUS…A Brief Slideshow

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Please take note of the businesses and organizations that sponsored and/or volunteered their expertise or goods to help make these projects a success:

Sears Heroes At Home Program; S.C. Barns; Jeff England & Associates; Lon Wiley Construction; Doug Sanders Painting; Craig Riddle Handyman; North Bay Corporation; Velasco’s Restaurant; Whole Foods

Larry Hillblom Foundation; Petaluma Realtors; Circle Bank; Podesta Builders; C & J Properties Services, Casey Hopkins; City of Petaluma; Just Floor Covering, Mike Roesner; JF Electric, Jamie Freedman; Moore Heating & Air-Conditioning, Jon Diamond; North Bay Corporation; Strom Electric, David Freedman; The Floor Works, Robyn Perry

Redwood Credit Union & Volunteer Team;  Summit Bank; Adaptive Pest Control; Casey Hopkins; City of Petaluma; C & J Property Services, Jim Gemperline; Design in Wood, Andrew Jacobson; Fine Home Tuning, Rick Edwards; Just Floor Covering, Mike Roesner; Icon Plumbing, Jeff Martini; JF Electric, Jamie Freedman; Moore Heating & Air-conditioning, Jon Diamond; Nick Ryan Construction; Tony Capretta