Christmas comes early for city's Terrell Industries
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
A company known for helping others recently received unexpected support from two local organizations.
Hartselle Utilities employees made a surprise visit in early November to Terrell Industries, which employs 74 citizens with special needs from across Hartselle and Morgan County.
HU employees came equipped with tools, materials and tons of energy to renovate a meeting room at Terrell that had unintentionally turned into an unorganized storage room.
"You should have seen this room before they came," Terrell Industries Director Linda Fuhlrodt recalled. "All our supplies were on the floor and things were just a mess. Now it's so beautiful and clean. They said they would put in a cabinet and sink, but I had no idea they would give us a large countertop, too. We were so surprised and blessed by their visit."
HU employees spent one Saturday cleaning, organizing, painting and repairing the room, installing shelves, cabinets, countertop, plumbing and a stainless steel sink. Fuhlrodt said volunteers also mowed the lawn and cleaned garbage cans around the facility.
"We toured Terrell Industries through an outing with the United Way," HU employee Sherry Chenault explained. "We saw there was really a need here and couldn't think of more deserving, precious neighbors to share our volunteer efforts with. Once we decided to help, we asked the community for material donations and got everything we needed to renovate the room."
HU employee Tony Vest mentioned the need at Terrell to his daughter, Niki Vankoughnett. She shared what her father had told her with her church family at Gum Springs Baptist Church, who decided to make a cash donation of $500 to Terrell Industries.
"Now maybe you can buy that stove you've needed," Chenault told Fulhrodt at the presentation, as Fulhrodt's eyes welled up with tears.
Chenault said HU employees are also planning to assist Terrell Industries with their annual Christmas party by decorating the facility and donating food items.
Although Terrell employees are under contract with Delphi, Summit Tree Stands, Copeland, G.E., Holmes Industry, Defco, CGR and Plastic Recycling, Fuhlrodt said the economy has been unkind to industry this year.
"We can't afford a lot of basic things," Fuhlrodt said. "The economy has affected the industries we work for and us, so we can't afford day-to-day expenses and big Christmases like we've had in the past. We have always tried to give each employee fruit, food, and gifts for Christmas because this is all the present many of them will get. But we just can't afford it this year."
Fuhlrodt said her wish for Terrell employees this Christmas is to have a sweatshirt featuring the company's name.
"They're just all so proud to work here," Fulhrodt explained. "I think they would love a shirt to show off to everyone."
But, even if her Christmas wish doesn't come true, Fulhrodt said she is thankful for the efforts of HU and Gum Springs Baptist.
"It's so nice to be thought of," Fuhlrodt said. "It's such a blessing to me to walk into this place each day and get to work with such wonderful people. They give back much more than they get."
Individuals, businesses and church organizations interested in making donations to Terrell Industries to benefit the company's 74 special needs workers can call the United Way at 353-6643 or Terrell Industries Director Linda Fuhlrodt at 773-1922.
Day-to-day supplies needed at Terrell Industries
* Paper towels
* Toilet paper
* Disposable plates, cups and silverware
* Hand soap
Christmas supplies needed
* Men's and women's socks
* Gift items
* Monetary donations