When Dave Pynn, a 40-year member of the Carpenters’ Union Local 27, took a fall on a hunting trip last November, sustaining a paralyzing injury, it might not have occurred to him that members of the union would come to bat for him.
But while in hospital Pynn got a call from Local 27 business representative Chris Compton regarding the Local’s Members Action Committee (MAC), which offered to organize a crew of volunteer carpenters to build an accessible ramp at his home in Courtice, Ont.
Old friend and fellow Local 27 member Cecil Power took the union initiative a step further when Pynn told him he was quoted more than $2,000 by a contractor just to widen his narrow washroom entry for wheelchair accessibility. That didn’t include all the finishes to the floor and walls.
“He never asked for our help but I saw he could use it,” Power says of Pynn, noting he contacted MAC requesting their assistance for the bathroom doorway project.
A 30-year member of Local 27, Power helped organize volunteers for construction of the new bathroom entry. He says he didn’t have to do much because “members were quick to donate their own time to help, even though most of them had never met Dave.”
A scaffolder for most his carpentry career, Power says he first met Pynn about 15 years ago during their employment at Ontario Hydro.
Power says he was prepared to cover the costs to enlarge the bathroom entry himself but Local 27 donated about $700 for the 32-inch door and casings plus other materials and supplies.
Three volunteer carpenters and a friend donated their time to modify the new doorway entry before installing the new door. The work also required the relocation of electrical wiring, new drywall, door trim and additional hardwood and ceramic flooring.
“To look at the bathroom today, you’d never know there was a renovation,” says Power.
Structural framework for the sloping ramp was prefabricated at the training centre of the College of Carpenters and Allied Trades (CCAT) in Vaughan, Ont. The construction onsite was done on a snowy Saturday in January by five members of Local 27. Some of those carpenters drove more than two hours away to work on the ramp.
“The guys gave more than they needed to make this all happen,” says Power.
Pynn, who retired two years ago, was active in Local 27, including as a shop steward over the span of his career. Pynn and his wife Donna are grateful for all the efforts of the executive of the MAC and the brothers at the Local for their work to improve his home’s accessibility.
“They did an amazing job. It makes me so proud of the union,” he says.