On a recent tour of St. Ann’s Infant and Maternity Home, insurance broker Hugh Carroll noticed that the 50-year-old building, with its tile floors and fluorescent lights, looked more like a hospital than a home.
So Carroll, who also heads a foundation that organizes charity construction projects, gathered his team at the Home Builders Care Foundation and called on local businesses in the building industry to chip in.
He and a dozen volunteers recently gathered at St. Ann’s, lifting cabinets, painting walls and installing lights to transform the home’s kitchen into a revived eating space and family room.
The foundation also invited a handful of retired Washington Redskins players who had been looking to do a series of charity construction projects in their free time.
Brig Owens, Spain Musgrove, Ken Jenkins, Ed Simmons and Frank Grant — all Redskins who played in the 1960s and 1970s — mounted cabinets as they joked whether retired football players were really cut out for the job.
The total cost of the project was $30,000, including countertop, flooring and cabinet donations by Mohawk Flooring and Mid-South Building Supply of Maryland. The foundation funded the construction work led by SCK Contractors in Silver Spring.
The two-room renovation erased one item from a long list of remodeling projects St. Ann’s hopes to complete to create a “less institutional feel” in the four-story building, said chief executive Sister Mary Bader.
The Hyattsville home, originally established by a congressional act signed by President Abraham Lincoln 150 years ago, currently houses about 20 at-risk single mothers and foster children and provides services to more than 230 children each year.
St. Ann’s didn’t ask for High Carroll’s help, but then he didn’t need a request either.
Whether by attending Catholic schools or through the encouragement of his parents, at a young age Carroll said he understood the importance of giving back. But it wasn’t until his uncle died from leukemia that he began to look in earnest for ways to contribute.
“That’s the time I said to myself, ‘it’s time for me to do something,’” Carroll said.
He joined the board of a nonprofit that provides support of cancer patients. He also joined the board of the Home Builders Care Foundation, the charitable arm of the local National Association of Home Builders, of which his employer, Insurance Associates, is a member.
The foundation’s projects include work on the Langworthy Boys’ Home, for at-risk boys ages 12 to 17; the Dunbar Apartments which houses women with mental illnesses and the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, an emergency men’s shelter.
“With the need these kids have, it’s touching to be able to provide an area for them that feels warm and less institutional,” Carroll said.