Bethesda News

Men’s Shelter Facade Facelift: Stories of Hard Work, Success, and Celebration

The $100,000 facelift is complete: the pillars have been beautifully restored, the shelter facade has been freshly painted, the deck has been refurbished and sealed, the flower beds have been replanted, and our new banners have been installed, imprinted with the phrase “House of Mercy.”

A key component of the facelift was the restoration of the brick walls, which were leaking and had significant deterioration. We searched for a company with the skills required to complete the specialized work and were ultimately led to the Witmer Group.

Since 1967, the Witmer Group has maintained a solid reputation as one of the premier specialty contractors in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. They specialize in projects with intricate masonry designs that require superior craftsmanship, skill, and knowledge.

The Witmer Group labored through the summer of 2022 to complete this restoration with excellence—and what a beautiful result!

One individual in particular displayed immense dedication to the craft: Melany Davila. Melany is a 20-year-old graduate of Berks Career Technology Center, where she studied masonry.

Melany originally became interested in masonry because her aunt and uncle owned a construction company. She was invited by the Witmer Group to apply during a visit the organization had at her school.

“I plan on doing this for a while because in this trade anything you do and try your best will come out really nice,” Melany stated. “You can take immediate pride in seeing the finished work.”

Melany was joined on-site by Chris Schwilk. Chris joined the Witmer Group in 1991; he started as a laborer but was later promoted to mason and eventually to foreman.

Last December, Chris was appointed to manage the Special Services Division, which allows him to be more in touch with the owners and organizations that hire the Witmer Group. The brick restoration of the Men’s Shelter was his first job in his new role—and a great success!

Chris commented: “It was great working with members from the Mission daily. I felt honored to be able to complete the masonry [there].”

Praise God for the gifts given to restore our iconic landmark in Harrisburg, preserved now for decades to come. In 2009, the entire inside of the Men’s Shelter was renovated; now the 13-year process to completely update the building is complete!

Join us Thursday, October 13 at 6:00 pm to celebrate this momentous accomplishment made possible through the generosity of our donors, partners, and pillars.

The celebration program will include a time of reflection, with speeches by the Chair of the Board, the Director of the Men’s Mission, and Bethesda Mission’s Executive Director.

Parking is available in the lot to the left of the Men’s Shelter. Light refreshments will be offered.

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