GE employees spruce up schools for Community Service Day

MILWAUKEE -- Hundreds of GE Healthcare volunteers worked Wednesday, August 22nd to "spruce up" schools before they open up for the year.  It's part of the company's 18TH annual Community Service Day, where GE employees trade in their desk jobs for hours of manual labor.

“The volunteers just love to get out of the office for a day and help and really, truly make a difference,” Roger Franzel, a GE Community Service Leader said.

At Audubon School of Technology Wednesday, hundreds of GE employees helped landscape a courtyard and 7,000 square feet of space around the building.  They also painted 26 classrooms, drew 20 murals and organized and cleaned to help teachers get the spaces in top shape.

“When we have volunteers that come in, I think symbolically, it has great meaning.  It renews energy and spirit.  The students and teachers take great pride,” Principal Jesse Mazur said.

It's an effort being felt at 20 different public schools - 15 in MPS and five in Waukesha.

A total of 2,800 GE volunteers dedicated their day to community service -- making this the largest single-day volunteering event for the company.

GE's community is really about volunteerism.  We really want to give back to the community that we live in, and what better way to do it than with the public schools,” Franzel said.

Even GE retirees return to the schools to lend a helping hand.

“We get a satisfactory feeling when we're done.  At night we're tired, but we love doing it,” Joe Tuttle, who retired from GE in 1995 said.

Nearly 23,000 man-hours later, the schools are transformed with a fresh, updated feel -- ready for incoming students to learn and succeed.

“I think it sets the proper tone in renewing the enthusiasm and energy for the school year, so it really is invaluable,” Mazur said.

Wednesday was GE’s 18th annual Community Service Day.  It started with 50 employees volunteering and has now grown to become the company's largest single-day volunteer event in the world.