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Heart of Dawn Center gets a facelift

Published:   |   Updated: September 25, 2013 at 09:53 AM

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SPRING HILL - Earlier this year, the Dawn Center's kitchen desperately needed repairs. Cabinets in the domestic violence shelter couldn't be fixed because the original hinges were no longer manufactured. The linoleum floor was peeling up. And because the kitchen usually serves about 40 people, three times a day, not fixing it was not an option.

Shannon Sokolowski, executive director for the nonprofit organization, said a $23,000 estimate they received was way beyond their budget, especially because the shelter depends on grants and community donations.

That's where Eddie Brady comes in.

A retired truck driver, Brady started volunteering at the center in July 2012 and started spending three or four days a week at the shelter pressure washing and repainting the interior of the shelter.

Brady decided to get the community involved with the renovating and placed an ad in the newspaper asking for handy volunteers to get involved. Two other integral volunteers answered the ad: Danny Carbaugh, a Realtor and woodworker, and Shane Beard, who had construction experience.

Together, the men enlisted community volunteers and donations of paint, laminate flooring, cabinet wood and materials. Local businesses and organizations, including Baby Boomers of Timber Pines, Timber Lakes Village, Sherwin Williams in Brooksville, Pro-line Floors, Haywood Baker, Tampa Bay Millworks, Lowes of Brooksville and Pittsburgh Paint of Spring Hill, donated.

"We needed to buy champagne on a beer salary, but we did it," Brady said.

The kitchen was renovated over a three-month period, piecemeal, so the women living at the shelter could still cook meals for the rest of the residents. Sokolowski said the Dawn Center only had two days without a working kitchen and now has a well-constructed place for residents to cook and eat together.

"It makes such a difference," Sokolowski said. "Think of a mother bringing a child into this place; they need to feel good about where they're taking them.

"If it's in disrepair, they might wonder if they made the right choice."

When asked why Carbaugh volunteers, he said "I've always been taught ... that God gives you the talent to do stuff, you should share it."

"I don't do cheap," Carbaugh said, adding the cabinets he built were priced out at $32,000. "You do it right one time, and then you're finished."

More information on the Dawn Center is available at

(352) 544-5283

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