Hormel coworkers help with house

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 14, 2003

Some employees in the meat products division at the Hormel Foods Corporate office not only work together, they volunteer together.

They decided to volunteer as a group and chose Freeborn/Mower County Habitat for Humanity to do so.

The employees agreed to help out every Friday in June with the organization's current Austin project. While last Friday, June 6, was canceled because of rain, the 80-degree sunny weather Friday provided a pleasant setting for the work.

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About 15 from the department came to 907 16th Ave. NE to help put up insulation and cut out the windows. The house, being built for the Riley family, was started in April of this year.

Ricky Riley has been helping build his new home since construction started and he is appreciative of the Hormel volunteers.

"Today is a good turnout," Riley said.

The Hormel meat products division agreed to work on the project before they knew Riley was also employed at Hormel. Riley and his family found out they were approved for a Habitat home at the beginning of last year and since then Riley has gotten a job at Hormel Health Labs as a customer service representative/international export coordinator.

Riley and his wife, Amy, have five children, ranging in age from 11 to 2 years. Amy Riley works at the Parenting Resource Center as an assistant to the chemical health director. Until the home is completed, they're living in a rental unit in northwest Austin.

The 24 x 44 foot house is expected to be completed in October. For many of the Hormel employees, it was their first time working on a Habitat house.

Allison Cobb, associate product manager, arranged the project. Employees in the department volunteer for the Fridays they are available. Afterward, Hormel treats all Habitat volunteers to a cookout at the Hormel Institute.

Cobb said the department agreed on Habitat because it's directly involved with the community.

"We're so excited to be here," Cobb said. "The wonderful thing about Habitat is you come and you give your time and you work with your hands."

The project is the first time Joe Ciola, national accounts manager, has worked with Habitat for Humanity. He has volunteered for two Fridays.

"It seemed like a good way to give something back to the community," Ciola said.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at :mailto:cari.quam@austindailyherald.com