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Employee-driven Joy of Giving builds pride

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Two new trophies honoring Taylor Brothers Construction Co. as contractor of the year are important, but company executives are very proud of something that isn’t in the trophy case.

Each year, employees in the Harmon Group, which includes Taylor Brothers, raise money to help area families in an effort called The Joy of Giving.

Employees of Taylor Brothers, Harmon Construction and Harmon Steel participate by raising the money and deciding how it will be distributed.

The effort began in 2005 as a Christmas fundraiser, in which the three sister companies competed to see which could raise the most money for charity. The first year, employees raised about $8,000, which was matched by the company.

As the amount of money increased each year, employees expanded beyond the Christmas season to offer help to area families all year.

Since 2005, the employees have purchased Christmas presents for children, assisted needy families with making house payments or with home repairs, provided medical equipment and provided cash donations to area charities.

Through fundraisers such as motorcycle and ATV rides, a golf tournament and a prize auction, the employees have raised as much as $100,000 in a totally employee-supervised effort, said Tom Harmon, CEO of Taylor Brothers.

In the past few years, employees have provided money for living expenses to help families who have lost homes to fires, helped families with medical bills and sent care packages to military personnel.

The employees also have used Joy of Giving money to start a backpack program in Jennings County Schools. The program provides enough food to last through a weekend for every child who needs the help when away from school. Joy of Giving Money also was used to open food pantries in Jennings County Middle School and High School. The program was chosen by Harmon Construction employees who work in Jennings County.

“It’s a can-do kind of place,” Harmon said of his employees, whose charitable efforts are making a difference in the community.

The Harmon Group now assists the employees by sponsoring the cost of the fundraising so the employees can give 100 percent of the money they raise to families in need.

Some of the recipients have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of generosity.

“You should read some of the letters, some of the notes, from the recipients,” Harmon said.

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