A Touching Story Leads the Tocci Team to Remember One of our Own.
On Wednesday, July 1st, eight Tocci team members participated in a “Day of Giving” by volunteering at a Habitat Build in Lawrence, MA. The purpose of the building is to convert an existing convent building into condominiums. Upon arrival, the team met with their supervisor Jim to begin the introduction process. Little did they know, Jim had a special connection to Tocci. He was a fellow volunteer and a good friend of Johan MacKenzie. For more than 15 years, Johan worked in the Accounting Department at Tocci before her passing. Her hallmark was service and she left an indelible print on the company.
For many years Johan used vacation time to volunteer with a Habitat for Humanity building. For many years she organized a group from her church to travel to New Orleans to rebuild after Katrina. In 2011 she approached Lila Tocci about financial help to make a Habitat Global Village trip to Cape Town, South Africa to build a house for a single mother. Her request birthed our Matching Grant, helping other Tocci staff realize their charitable goals. Johan’s legacy lives on: we renamed the grant to the Johan MacKenzie Matching Grant. Johan applied for and was accepted to the Global Village Team without knowing how she could finance the trip: that’s faith. Her conviction about doing the right thing overcame her fears of traveling with a group of strangers and the trip was as rewarding as it was enriching.
Katie Colombo, one of yesterday’s Habitat Build participants, reflects on the overall experience:
I never had the honor of meeting Johan MacKenzie, but yesterday I am certain that her presence was with us. I loved hearing Jim’s story about how He and Johan went to the same church and worked there on Saturdays together where Johan would always arrive on her motorcycle. Jim shared with us what an amazing person she was and how she was always doing things for others.
What better way to start our day of service, than to be reminded of the special woman which our volunteer program memorializes. Of all the organizations and locations we could have chosen, we chose one that connected us to Johan.
With Johan and the soon-to-be homeowners in our thoughts, we motivated each other to complete our duty of priming the walls. Once we completed the walls inside, we moved outside to assist with breaking up and removal of concrete. We were so grateful to take part in this experience and help bring homeownership to those in need through the Habitat for Humanity program.