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Coffee Conversations - Caught Doing Good in Roofing - TRANSCRIPTION

CC - Caught Doing Good - Watch
May 27, 2021 at 8:47 a.m.

 

 

Editor's note: The following is the transcript of an live interview with Lynne Johnston and Barry Birebaum of Roofing Contractors Association of Southern Florida, and Jackie Perl with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Southern Florida. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast here.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Good morning and welcome to the season finale of coffee conversations. My name is Heidi Ellsworth with Roofers Coffee Shop. And today we have such a special coffee conversation. We have our friends from the RCA SF, Roofing Contractors Association of Southern Florida, and the Make-A-Wish Southern Florida foundation here today to visit with us. I'm going to introduce them in just one second, but first I want to do a few little housekeeping things.
As you know, this is a Q and A, we want to hear from you. We want to hear your stories of giving back to the community. We want to hear your questions for our great guests today about how to get more involved. I want to also be sure to really say thank you to our friends at ABC Supply. ABC Supply is sponsoring this. They want to really share all the great things that are going on out there and all the opportunities to give back.
They are a huge donor to Make-A-Wish along with Home For Our Troops. And really, as we looked at this, we were saying this is perfect, we need to highlight all the great things that are happening in the roofing industry. So thank you very much ABC Supply. You're going to hear a little bit more of that from one of our guests here in just a second. So let's get started. I would like to introduce Lynne Johnston with Earl W. Johnston Roofing. Good morning, Lynne. Welcome to the show.

Lynne Johnston:
Hi Heidi. Good morning.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I've been watching you for years, Lynne, as you send us information and you give us things for the coffee shop. I am so excited to have you here today. Thank you for taking the time and sharing all the great things that are happening down in Southern Florida.

Lynne Johnston:
[inaudible 00:01:59] I'm happy to be here.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I am so happy. Barry Birenbaum is here with ABC Supply. Also a board member on RCA SF and very active in the fishing tournament along with Lynne. They're going to talk about all this today and all the great things they're doing. Welcome Barry to coffee conversations.

Barry Birenbaum:
Good morning everybody.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And finally, we have Jackie Perl and I have to tell you, this is pretty cool. Jackie is with Make-A-Wish Southern Florida and she works hand in hand with the association to really do all the fundraising to help. I mean, I've really been inspired by listening how they work together and partner to really make wishes come true for all these little kids. So, Jackie, thank you for being here this morning.

Jackie Perl:
Good morning. Thank you so much for having me.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Awesome. So we're going to get started because I'm really excited to be learning more this and to help everybody else out there to find out what this is all about, but we're going to start with really kind of getting to know all of you. So first Lynne, can you tell everybody a little bit about yourself, about your company and specifically let's go into about what you're doing with RCA SF and Make-A-Wish and being on that board.

Lynne Johnston:
Well thank you. Earl W. Johnson Roofing, that's my husband Earl. He started the company back in 1986 and a few years later we got really busy in 1992 because there was a little storm that came through called hurricane Andrew. So I kind of got pulled into the office there and I've been there ever since. So it's been great being able to have a family business and raise three kids. I'm happy to say now that two of the three are involved in the company and-

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow.

Lynne Johnston:
Moving on. So we ended up getting involved with RCA SF, it's a great organization that we have here in South Florida, where we are able to bring in roofers from the three or four counties that we work in. We have great monthly meetings and just a really good way to keep everyone connected and knowing each other. And the way that the fishing tournament started was like 42 years ago, just some roofers getting together to go fishing and blow off some steam. And what it's evolved into today is amazing.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I really, you can see the picture up here of the Make-A-Wish and as we've been talking about all the different stories that have run across Roofers Coffee Shop on the cut doing good with everything you've done out there. And Lynne, I love the fact about hurricane Andrew because that's when I started in the roofing industry too. I would say hurricane Andrew, that's what I always think of. And I was on the west coast, but working for Malarkey. So the shingles were heading all your direction during that time.

Lynne Johnston:
That's right.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So as you are the RCA SF and which I want to really say, the executive director is Wendy Harvest and she's just phenomenal too. I mean, you guys are just such a special group. You said it started out with the fishing tournament, just kind of getting together and having fun, but how did you really decide to start benefiting Make-A-Wish?

Lynne Johnston:
Well, I think it was actually the year before Wendy joined the association which was in 2011. They raised some money. I'm not exactly sure who they used to raise money for before, but somehow they got involved with Make-A-Wish and they said, "Well, let's." I think they divided up the money more or less and tried to give something to something local. And the first donation to Make-A-Wish in 2010 was about $1000.
I didn't really get involved with the association Fishing Tournament Committee until 2015 or 16. Most of the reason why was because I enjoy Wendy's company a lot. So I figured if I joined onto the committee, I get to see her more and just be in love. So jumping into what Earl and I did in 2015, we had been in business almost ... The next year was going to be our 30th anniversary of being in business.
We wanted to do something special and see how we could make an impact with Make-A-Wish. So we found out that the average cost of a wish was $5,000. So we thought, "Well, we have a lot of things we could spend $5,000 on that we wouldn't really see much of a value." I mean, of course, things that we need, like worker's comp insurance and all of that fun stuff that we have to pay that you'll just see if we go out the window.
And we said, "Well, what if we could just give this $5,000 that we had directly to Make-A-Wish?" So the board members on RCSFA or RCA SF talked about that. And then they said that was a great idea. And they came up with a title for it, which was called a signature sponsorship.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Nice.

Lynne Johnston:
What we hoped that would happen has happened and it's encouraged so many other roofing companies, manufacturers, distributors to jump on board and say, "Hey, we could do that too. We could be a signature sponsor too."

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, so this is perfect because Barry, I'd like you to tell us a little bit about yourself, about what you're doing. And I also know that you're a signature sponsor.

Lynne Johnston:
Absolutely.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So maybe you can kind of talk about that also and how you both work on the board together.

Barry Birenbaum:
My name is Barry Birenbaum. I was hired in 1994 by Bradco Supply. I guess 2010, ABC acquired Bradco and I stayed on. A lot of Bradco employees left. I stayed on because I liked ABC. Well, no I didn't, but now I do. Even before I worked for Bradco, I started in 94, I would go down to the Keys with a couple of friends that to Bob Bilsen's fishing tournament, which started this whole thing.
And it's been nonstop ever since. This is the 42nd annual fishing tournament. I think I've been to about 39. It's just so much fun to be there with all the contractors, with all the friends and family. I just love going down there. So anyway, my involvement with Make-A-Wish as you know is my wife Gail and I are signature sponsors. We've been doing this I think three or four years in a row.
Actually we share the signature sponsor with Anthony and Wendy. And again, to me, giving back is probably one of the best things that we do. ABC Supply is a major corporate sponsor for Make-A-Wish. They won't tell me what they do, but I guarantee you it's in the millions of dollars. I really don't want to know, but all I know is that I give my part, it feels good. Love giving back to Make-A-Wish, love the RCA SF. I'm on the RCF board of directors. I'm on the Fishing Tournament Committee.
I just enjoy being involved. I'll not stop doing it. It just makes you feel so good to give back to people that are unfortunate. I'm fortunate to have a good job. I get paid well, everybody loves me. Even Lynne and Jackie, they love me too. So, I'm here. It just feels really good. I can't explain how good it feels to give back and to be involved with an organization like the RCA SF. I can't explain enough how good it feels and I'm just so glad that I'm here.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I really do want to ... Hopefully this is okay, Barry, that I say this, but when you said you've been to 39 of the 42 or almost 42 of the fishing tournaments, you're going to be there this year and you're going to be there.

Barry Birenbaum:
Absolutely.

Heidi Ellsworth:
You just came out of a pretty big medical and you're still going to be there. And you were just like-

Barry Birenbaum:
Absolutely. I wouldn't miss it for the world. Last year we didn't have it. This year I'm not fishing, but I'm taking one of my five grandkids on the head boat and we're going to fish together, loves fishing, loves the dolphins, love the [panthads 00:11:44]. His name is Dash by the way. And we're just going to have a wonderful time. My wife's going to go fishing and he's going to come with me on the head boat and hopefully we catch fish. Actually we will.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is great.

Barry Birenbaum:
I'm sure we will.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I know you will and I know you'll all have a great time. I was telling Lynne yesterday that I plan on being there at some point and not this year, but in the next couple of years, I want to attend also.

Barry Birenbaum:
Absolutely.

Heidi Ellsworth:
We got to have the coffee shop there. Good, there's Lynne. I thought we lost her for a minute.

Lynne Johnston:
I don't know what happened.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Let's go real quick to Jackie. So Jackie I would love it if you could share a little bit about yourself. Again, about Make-A-Wish Southern Florida and your involvement with these wonderful folks in the roofing industry.

Jackie Perl:
Of course. So I'm Jackie Perl. I am one of the senior special events coordinators at Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. I have been with the foundation for over seven years now. I can't believe that I get to call work work, to be honest with you. As Lynne mentioned that RCA SF and Make-A-Wish have worked together for over 11 years now, which is so crazy. And it honestly has evolved into a beautiful partnership where we work tirelessly with a wonderful group of committee members, such as Barry and Lynne, who are so passionate about changing lives of children in our community.
And it's honestly just me as an outsider from a foundation standpoint, we're working with the committee members. It's so inspirational to know that people that don't work for the foundation are so passionate and work tirelessly. I mean, we are on these meetings every single month. Right when the tournament ends, we are right back again to start planning the next one.
So honestly it was just truly inspirational. And to be able to say, this is work to work with this group of people that are so committed to making sure each year it grows and the donation gets bigger and bigger. I mean, what more could you ask for honestly?

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love that. Jackie, you got to share the story about what you're doing this year at the tournament with the alumni. This had me teary yesterday when Lynne and all of us were talking. So chare what's going to happen.

Jackie Perl:
Yeah, of course. So if you have a tournament, we have a Wish child that is going through the Wish process and they come and they share their story and how their wish is going to be granted in front of this group of people from the RCA SF and that there are funds that they're raising your wish is being granted. Well this year it's a little bit different and I'm so excited because I honestly think that this is going to be so impactful.
We are having a wish alumni who has had their wish granted five years ago. And she is now a grown adult. She has 22 years old and she is coming back to tell her story of the impact her wish had on her. And the torment funds were able to grant her wish five years ago. So it's really full circle. It brings everybody back and she gets to stand in front of her sponsors and say five years ago, when you had this tournament, my wish was able to be granted. And I mean, I have chills just talking to you guys about it. So I can only imagine that in group of over 375 people what that will be like.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And we want pictures. We want to know because we want to talk about it. I mean, it's so amazing. Lynne, as you're kind of looking at this and everything you've done, you don't always hear. You hear ... I mean, the roofing industry gives back all the time. You see it across the country, everybody's giving back, but you don't always see this consistency of giving to one charity really that ... I mean to think about five years ago, now you're talking to a young lady who had a wish and it made such a difference in her life.
How is that for you and all the board members kind of being able to just continually every year have this such a strong relationship with Make-A-Wish?

Lynne Johnston:
Well, I think it's great to be involved with Make-A-Wish of Southern Florida because it is local community, local children, and the fact that we've been able to invite their families to the event. I think that's what really solidified the fact that we should just stay working with them because each year, as more money was raised, as more people came on as signature sponsors, as we met more families, it just felt like it was just meant to be that we should just stay together as this group.
We do also give money from the fishing tournament to the IGFA, the fishing association, because we wanted to somehow bring back in what we started which was fishing. So we do also contribute to them and that works out good for them because they have summer camps for kids, teach them how to fish and things like that. But there's so many families in the roofing industry. Second, third generation. So to see all of the families come together and all the little kids get involved and be excited about meeting other kids. And because of Facebook, we've been able to stay in touch with all of these families. And it feels like they're just part of our association now.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is so cool. Well, I do want to mention on some of the comments that are coming through. I just love this April Johnston, she said, "Proud daughter alert." So you're talking about family. Your family is on here right now watching and listening and Wendy Harvest also wanted to tell everybody that what a great group and she's just so thrilled to be a part of it.
So we've got all kinds of people on here who are just really inspired by what's going on. So let's talk a little bit about ... I mean, I know we have it here in the articles and stuff, but what kind of dollars have you been able to raise every year through the fishing tournament? Barry maybe you could take that. What kind of funds have you been able to raise?

Barry Birenbaum:
Well, I believe last or well, the year before, we donated to Make-A-Wish, I think it was what? 125,000, I think it was 125 or 150,000 just from the tournament. Just when the fishing tournament, I think we gave 15 to 20,000 to the IGFA which Lynne mentioned, which helps a young anglers learn and camps and all that. But I do want to add that when we were at the fishing tournament and I've been to, like I said plenty, when the Make-A-Wish family comes there and they play the loop on this big screen and Make-A-Wish recipient gets up there and either speaks or stands there, it brings a tear to my eye.
Just for me and the associate RCA SF and our whole fishing tournament team. And Jackie of course, is involved in this. It's just, again, sometimes I get a little emotional. It's just good. Again, I can't explain how good it feels that as an organization, we're fortunate enough to help Make-A-Wish, which is probably one of the greatest organizations around. And my wife and I will never stop being a signature sponsor. That's where we are. And thank you, Lynne Johnson for starting it, it's come a long way. We've got a lot of signature sponsors.

Lynne Johnston:
I want to tell you something. It's funny because when I joined the fishing community, you don't realize when you go to these events as a guest, how much work actually goes into behind the scenes. And I was amazed with ... There's a lot of people on the committee that work either for a manufacturer such as GAF or like Barry working for a distributor, ABC, we have great people that really bring in a lot of items and things like that for people to purchase through an auction or we raffle them off.
And that's how they were really making a lot of money. But I have to say that I'm so proud of just the roofing industry, joining us with the signature sponsorship because they have stepped up. So high they've stepped up, just been amazing how many people want to get involved even last minute at the tournament, we have people walking over to us and saying I'm going to do a signature sponsor right now.
I think at the tournament in 2019, which was the last one that we actually all physically attended was our 40th. And we had people walking up, we must have raised at least 60,000 back that night alone, just through the sponsorships. I have to tell you one thing that we do that's really fun. After everybody gets done crying because of how emotional it is, we stood up on the stage one year and we said, "If everybody comes up through the stage right now and gives us $100 bill or five twenty, it's how you want it. We could raise enough money right now for wish." And we did within five minutes, we raised $5,000.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Holy cow.

Barry Birenbaum:
I think it was closer to 6,000.

Lynne Johnston:
It was probably more and it was amazing how generous everybody is and how much they want to give back to these families in the community.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. I just love this so much. Jackie, I just think for everyone listening out there, can you share what this means to kids and kind of how it works for these kids of Southern Florida? I mean, for all over obviously everywhere and maybe talk a little bit about all the councils that are out there, all the different chapters and how they're helping children everywhere.

Jackie Perl:
So there are 62 different Make-A-Wish chapters. Ours locally is Make-A-Wish Southern Florida, which is who I'm affiliated with and RCA SF is affiliated with, and we do the 22 Southern most counties in South Florida. And we now include our Tampa and Sarasota area. We have the Naples and Bonita Springs area. And then right about Orlando is where another chapter takes the rest of the state of Florida. So we're the fourth largest chapter out of the 62 chapters. So we have a very big territory, which means one thing, there's a lot of kids. There's a lot of kids and these kids are diagnosed with critical illnesses. When the process begins, anybody can refer a child. So it could be the child themselves, they can call, it could be their doctor, it could be their parents, a friend, anybody can refer a child.
And then we send paperwork over to the physician. The physician will then say if the child has an illness that qualifies, which is what we say a critical illness. Once the child qualifies, it's actually volunteer based. So the wish granters are volunteer-based. So we have over 700 volunteers and there are two volunteers per wish child. So once a child has qualified, it will say, "Jimmy is five years old, he's battling this condition and he's waiting for his wish to be granted." And so then that process begins. Once their process begins, where we go ahead and figure out what's their heartfelt wishes, what they want.
And then the wish process begins. It goes back to our wish coordinators and then may begin that process. And that process is just truly inspirational. I mean, this child is going through not being able to necessarily play on the playground with their friends like a normal kid is able to do, not necessarily be in school every single day like a normal child is able to do.
And they don't understand why at that point, I mean to qualify for a wish you need to be between the ages of two and a half to 18 years old. So I mean, a child, how do you explain that to a child? Why I can't go hang out with my friends? Why am I here all the time at the doctors and not there? So when Make-A-Wish comes in and we just want to instill hope and strength and courage to move on and you can fight this illness and you can push forward.
And I mean, a wish is not just a nice really fuzzy thing ,it's necessary for these children. So it is necessary that they know okay my wish is in the process. I have always wanted to do this. I have always wanted to have this. Dream big, what is your one heartfelt wish? And then they look forward to that wish happening and taking place. And I mean, it's like a kid on Christmas. I mean who can sleep the night before, who can do all these things. And it's just, I mean it's just you have no words to be honest with you.
And so, I mean, even things like that myself I am a volunteer wish granter. So that's not part of being a staff member, you do that on the side. And so even just doing that, I don't tell when I go into the children's home and try and figure out their wish. I don't tell them that I'm an employee of the foundation. I go in as a volunteer. So just going in and hearing how excited they are and whether a child is battling leukemia or whatever condition that they're battling. I mean, they are so focused and joyful and on what their wish is going to be. And I think that's what everybody's wish.

Heidi Ellsworth:
We have ... I'm showing up here now a couple of articles and the thing I love Jackie is we have Perkins Roofing out of Ohio. Amber had sent it in, this was a couple years ago, but they helped build a tree house for a wish. And just, to me, I was like you think of wishes like going to Disneyland. You see that a lot, but there's so many different ways of being involved.
I mean, from stewards or sponsors to also being a volunteer, to helping make ... Actually build the tree house. That's amazing. How do you see, how are people getting involved? I mean tell us a little bit more about being that wish volunteer, because I think that's something that anyone can get involved in all over the country.

Jackie Perl:
Our national website is wish.org. So W-I-S-H.O-R-G. And then our local site is SFLA.wish.org. And there are volunteer opportunities on both sites. So whether you're a local, it would be sfla.wish.org. And then our national website would then go ahead and transfer you over to your local chapter. But there are so many different ways to get involved. So depending on the level of each individual, you can refer a child. And that's a way of getting involved. If you know, somebody that would be eligible for a wish, you can get your child's school involved.
We have what we call a kids for wish kids program, and it's kids helping wish kids. You can get your company involved, which is what the RCA SF has perfected, and all of that information and all those different tiers are on our website. So whether you would like to become a volunteer wish granter, you would like to get your child involved with helping to raise money. That is all listed under our volunteer opportunities.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, Sandy wax is on here and she was just asking this, she wants to get in contact. I know that we can get her in contact with you, but then she can get in contact on a national level to get into her own area which I love. Thank you, Sandy, because that's what it's all about. This is what we're trying, getting people. I mean, just imagine all the wishes out there.
When I think about $165,000, I'm like how many wishes came from that? I mean, that has to make just such a huge impact. So Jackie, I guess I'm going to ask you one more time. What does that mean to Make-A-Wish Southern Florida to have these kinds of dollars and wishes coming into your local area? It's such a big area too with so many kids.

Jackie Perl:
So on average each year we grant over 540 wishes in any normal year. So we do 365 days out of a year, you can tell that on a normal year, we are granting every about 14 and a half hours. We are granting ... A wish is being granted. So putting that into perspective. So, I mean honestly, there's no words. I mean, being able to ... We have a wish pipeline. So these kids are waiting for their wishes to be granted and volunteers to go out and dollars to be raised and all that. And we do not ever want to ... One thing in Make-A-Wish on in Florida, that our CEO has made clear as we do not ever want to turn a child away from receiving a wish due to funds not being raised. That is something that he is very adamant about.
We will figure it out, we will do it. So a child is never going get turned down locally by being able to say we don't have enough funds to be able to grant that child's heartfelt wish and that's in itself, it means so much, it means so much that, like Lynne said, it takes so long to plan. There's so many behind the scenes. There's so many little parts that go into the tournament, but of course the over 475 to 400 people that attend. It's great, we're fishing, we're doing a great cause and we're here and it's so inspirational, but there's just so much that goes into it.
And it means the world to me as Make-A-Wish and I can tell you that till I'm blue in the face, but these kids, I know that Barry and Lynne have had personal experiences on being able to ... The impact that that wishes have had and who doesn't want to be a part of that? Who doesn't want to take part in that? I mean the fishing tournament, you get that feeling, you understand the impact that you're making locally.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. I'm sorry I have people coming in with comments, say like, first of all, I have to say, Barry, they're saying they love you. So I just want you to know that, that there's a lot of people out there saying we love Berry.

Barry Birenbaum:
I love you too.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So let's take it to that because Jackie, I want to kind of go back to Lynn a little bit too, on the fishing tournament. So Wendy just said that there was over 650 attendees in 2019 at your fishing tournament. So, I mean, that's huge. I mean really getting all these people involved on 650, the logistics of it. I know you're saying people have no idea how much goes ... What goes in the back of it and having done meetings I know, but tell us a little bit more. Maybe give it the full outline of how the fishing tournament works, if people want to get involved and I'm not sure if they can still register for this year, but why don't you give it the whole rundown?

Lynne Johnston:
Well, and it just has evolved. And the last one that we attended in person like you said with the over 600 people was amazing because every year more and more people just want to come. Even how we've attracted you now from Oregon, that says you want to come. And more and more people want to come.
First of all, the location. I grew up in South Florida and I know that the Florida Keys is a huge attraction for people for all over the world. So the resort that we've been able to hold this fishing tournament at is called Hawks Cay, and it's located in Duck Key. And it's not hard to get to for a lot of the people that live in the area where we work. So that's a very big draw that people love to go down there. The resort is set up for families to go. Last year because of the pandemic, we didn't obviously get to have the tournament, but I have to tell you that the industry stepped up anyway.
We had a live auction that Make-A-Wish was able to set up that whole program and that platform for us, we were able to do an auction. We were able to still get people to donate. Last year we didn't even step in the same room together. We did all of our meetings over Zoom, and we still raised over $100,000.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow.

Lynne Johnston:
Just how much people want to contribute to this. Before we even step into the room on Friday, June the 11th, when we first get together, again, many of us have not seen each other in a long time, very long time, almost two years since we saw each other at the fishing tournament. We've already raised $75,000 before we even walked into the room. That's how amazing this is. And I encourage anyone that can attend to attend.
This year we sold out of the hotel rooms within a record time because people were so anxious and so excited to get together again. And I just see that it's just getting bigger and bigger every year. And it's something that I encourage roofers and associations and people in the industry across the country to-

Barry Birenbaum:
Sam.

Lynne Johnston:
Somehow become sort of event every year. It's great to get people together and it's a good opportunity to raise money for a great organization.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I tell you ... So just to be clear, can people still sign up even right now for June 11th? Or are you pretty much sold out?

Lynne Johnston:
Well, I think that people can still sign up. Maybe Wendy can answer that if she's on. I think Jackie said we already have 375 people who have registered and we do have room for more and they may not be able to stay at the same resort because we have sold that resort out already. But there's a lot of nice resorts nearby in the Florida keys that people could still come and stay there.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Excellent. So Wendy, I know you're out there. If you want to let us know. She just did. So you just go to and everyone can see this on the screen, but it's rcasf.org to register. So it's not too late if you're listening from Florida. If you're listening from anywhere in the country and you want to get in your car or on a plane, you still have time to be involved, but you can also be involved in other ways too whether you're attending or not.
But before we get to that because we have a whole section on that, but once they get to the tournament and I know Barry, you were saying, you're going to be on the head boat and you're doing that. So just how does it work? I mean, when you get there Barry, what are you going to do? What are you going to do while you are there?

Barry Birenbaum:
Normally I show up Friday sometime, but being on the committee and I've got work to do, I'll be there Thursday. We get there Thursday and there's an itinerary. And as Lynne said, there's a lot of work involved for everybody. Everybody's got their particular jobs, specific job and you just follow the itinerary and just do your thing. You're there, you're volunteering. Again, it just feels good to give back.

Barry Birenbaum:
We'll be there Thursday, working, setting up in displays and all that. And then Friday, it's a cocktail party.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Nice.

Barry Birenbaum:
And captain meeting. Saturday fishing. Saturday night is a really nice dinner, a buffet dinner and you can bid for the auctions and I believe they give out the auctions that evening. And there's dancing, everybody's dancing, having a great time. Then Sunday is the awards banquet. Again, it's just so much fun to be involved and being at this resort which is gorgeous. I might even stay overnight to Sunday. That's how much fun we have there. We enjoy the company, we enjoy all the RCA SF members. Jackie included.

Jackie Perl:
Thank you for including me.

Barry Birenbaum:
You're going to be there, you'll be there. But again, like I said, it's good to be there. Even though I live in south Florida, when I get to Duck Key to Hawks Cay, it's just like a different world. It's just relaxing, you're with your friends, your customers, your competitors. There's nothing bad about that. Competition is good even though ABC is number one, but [inaudible 00:37:55].
So anyway, again, I'll be there. My wife will be there and like I said, we're just so happy to be there. Again we missed it, we absolutely missed it last year, missed having the meetings. It's okay Zoom, but there's nothing like being together in a room.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Isn't that ... There is something so special about the roofing industry. And I think we've all missed that connection, in person connection. Even though we have this and we have the Zoom and we've been doing the coffee conversations to bring us all together. But there is just something so special. So Jackie, you probably, but you have to admit, don't you think the roofing industry is probably one of the most special out there?

Jackie Perl:
Absolutely. This is ... And I tell Wendy all the time, I'm like this is by far my favorite group of people and my favorite event to do. And she's like she thinks I'm kidding. I'm like, "Wendy, don't tell my boss, but this is my favorite."

Heidi Ellsworth:
This is it. Well ... Go ahead.

Lynne Johnston:
Before joining the committee, I just went there for fun and that's what a lot of people can do. Even if they don't fish, that resort is fun. Bring your family down there, the people that are out fishing are out by the pool. They have a dolphin interactive events that you can go and swim with dolphins. The kids that are there are having such a good time. And then when all the people get back from the fishing event, there's a little time over at the weigh in station for them to all share their stories of what they caught and things like that.
And everything is kept top secret as far as who caught the biggest fish and who caught how many fish, and that leads to a lot of excitement on Sunday morning when we have our wood spray game. And they announce the winners and we have beautiful trophies that are given out, and it just ends up at the end of the day on Sunday, everybody's had the best time and they're already looking forward to the next year.

Heidi Ellsworth:
When I think about that, you were able to do something that is so strong for your roofing community, but yet gives back so much to all these young children or to all these kids out there for Make-A-Wish. I mean, you've really grabbed the best of both worlds. A lot of times I think people miss that connection of doing something like this, bringing that great spirit, and then it just continues to grow with all of the donations that come through that.
So I wanted to just real quick say here that we have some folks from across the country and I just want to read this one. So one of our RCS influencers, a very dear friend, Wendy Marvin out of Vancouver, Washington. So almost not quite but close about as far as we can get right across country. She says, "My family has benefited from Make-A-Wish and visited NASA. The gift is life-changing. Thank you for the positive impact on children and their families. You're all true angels." And so that's from Wendy Marvin from Vancouver, Washington. So changing lives clear across the country. It makes me a little teary and Lynne and I were talking about it that we can cry really easy.

Lynne Johnston:
Can I say something for anyone that is out there watching this or listening to this right now, something that they can do? We do have what we call a corporate challenge set up. There's a lot of people that want to be involved, but because they are across the country and they can't attend, or they're not able to get to our event, we've set up this opportunity for them to go right on and make a donation through this corporate challenge link.
What this is going to do is it's going to make money. It's going to go directly to Make-A-Wish. It's not going to pass through any other hands at all. It's going to go directly to Make-A-Wish. And whether it's $5 or $10 or 20, it's going to make an impact. And one of the things that we decided to do this year, 2021, we decided, let's see if we can do a May match challenge.
With our company, we decided that anyone who goes to our corporate challenge link and makes a donation in the month of May, we're going to match that challenge. I can tell you at this point where we are, we have already granted one wish, we love what's coming in.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Yes.

Lynne Johnston:
Anybody that wants to click on that and join it in, we'd really be happy for them to be able to do that.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is, just so everyone knows it's on the screen right now, but Megan is putting this into the chat also. So direct links to the corporate. So there's two, there's the corporate with RCA SF unchallenged, but then there's also the Earl Johnston Roofing challenge that is being matched this May. And so I was so happy you told us about that, Lynne.
I mean, we went in, that's just something, I don't know, it's pretty awesome. We the roofers coffee shop, we wanted to be a part of it. And there's a lot of people out there I know who are going to want to do that. So those are the kinds of things that bring it all together.

Lynne Johnston:
When we put it together, you can see there. I did have a hefty goal and I said $25,000. And the reason I did that was because I have my husband and my three kids. So we're the original party of five. I always call us. So I figured five is good, but five times five is better because why not? So that's why we put the goal of 25,000, but I'm happy with how much we've raised so far. And I just think it's going to be amazing just to see it all donated back to the community to make the wish.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I just love that. That is so cool. So Jamies Self, hopefully I said your name right, is on here saying these are my favorite people too. My mom is the coolest.

Jackie Perl:
I'm guessing Lynne.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That's pretty cool. Both ... Your party of five are all online watching right now.

Lynne Johnston:
I do put them to work when we get to the fishing tournament too. They become volunteers, whether they know it or not, and they always get involved. We have a little fun challenge that we do when the guys come in or the fishermen anglers come in with their fish. If they're willing to donate the mommy that they've caught for our dinner that night, we also present them with an award.
So Jamie usually helps me keep track of that with the dock master of how much fish was donated. And we ended up having a wonderful fresh fish dinner on Saturday.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love that. Well, and that's what April. April was also saying the same thing. Go ahead.

Barry Birenbaum:
The award for the most donated fish is called the generosity trophy. And we have a sponsor for that. And just on another note, even though Gail and I are signature sponsors, we're making a donation to the corporate challenge also.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow.

Barry Birenbaum:
I can never figure out how to do it.

Lynne Johnston:
Just give me your credit card Barry.

Barry Birenbaum:
Absolutely. It'll happen. I'll make it happen.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I'm telling you right now. I think we can make it happen. I think Lynne will make it easy for anybody. Just-

Barry Birenbaum:
Absolutely.

Heidi Ellsworth:
No problem.

Barry Birenbaum:
Absolutely.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is great.

Lynne Johnston:
I look forward to the event. It's going to be a lot of fun this year.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Let's talk just a little bit Lynne, about year round. How does this work year round? I mean, Jackie said it earlier that as soon as you're done with one tournament, you're starting the next year.

Lynne Johnston:
We take a couple of months off, but then we usually start to get back together during the meetings and just the donations and the sponsorship that we get from the industry is phenomenal. We have manufacturers, distributors, all the trophies that we hand out are sponsored by someone. All of the events that we host are sponsored, the cocktail party is sponsored. One year I think we had the hangover Bloody Mary bar the next day. That's sponsored, everything is sponsored and that starts right away.
When we finish the tournament, we want to reach out again and say are you going to do it again next year? And a lot of times we get people that don't make the sponsorship money before the end of this year, so they can get it on their fiscal year, before we even start meeting again. And starting in January, the committee meets every two weeks. I think there's 10 of us on the committee now. And we go out, we get local companies to donate fishing pole [inaudible 00:47:33].
We get companies to donate coolers, all kinds of things that would be interested for people to bid on. We get trips that we get donated that people can bid on and it's just year round, always preparing for what we can do next year.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow. And people across the country involved all the manufacturers and distributors and everybody across the country. I love it. And it truly shows-

Barry Birenbaum:
I'd like to give a shout out and not only thank the entire RCA SF fishing tournament, but there's two people that really are involved in. We really have to thank Gene Fall, Certified Contracting Group and Corey Daily. Those two guys kind of spearheaded the fishing tournament happenings for years. We just got a shout out to them. Thank you guys and thank all the Fishing Tournament Committee members. It's going to be another great year. It definitely will be another great fishing tournament.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it.

Lynne Johnston:
I want to mention, since you mentioned them, they're great people, also Dave Carr and Erica Bergeron. Those two, I think single-handedly, they get the most items donated to the tournament. They are just relentless. They're constantly just getting more and more people involved. We actually ended up raising so much money.
We had to come up with new things for people to sponsor because we had so many people that wanted to help and wanted to join in. I mean, it's just amazing how much work everybody on the committee does. We have a few people that work for Beacon Supply, Golf Eagle, ABC, [Yaya 00:49:29] and the involvement is just amazing.

Barry Birenbaum:
Firestone is a big sponsor.

Lynne Johnston:
Yup.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Wow.

Lynne Johnston:
And Gene Fall from Certified Roofing. He has been really our leader. He drives very thorough meetings. He keeps us on track. He keeps us on time, even has a little gavel that he brings every once in awhile if we get off track. Because we do enjoy each other's company so much that sometimes we get off track and start talking, but he makes the meetings fun and keeps them interesting. And even when we were doing them on Zoom, we still were able to accomplish so much.

Heidi Ellsworth:
So Lynne, that's what I kind of wanted to and we're getting close to the end of our hour. But if you were on giving advice to other roofing contractors, other associations across the country who wanted to start something like this, or maybe they want to take something they already have and really kind of build it up, working with Make-A-Wish, what would be your advice to them?

Lynne Johnston:
Well, my first advice is really to encourage people to join the associations within their community. If you don't have a local association, I'm sure you have a state association. Just like we have the FRSA, Florida State Association. So start from joining your association and getting involved that way. And then just set up a committee that wants to put together an event, whether it's a fishing tournament, a golf tournament, a bowling tournament, a walk, a ride, anything that people in your community like to do.
And then join it together with an opportunity to get people together, competitors such as we are, and just bring them together in the way that they're having a common goal, which is to help out these families and make these wishes come true.

Heidi Ellsworth:
That is perfect. Barry, I'm going to ask you the same question from looking at it from more the manufacturing and distribution side. What's your advice to manufacturers, distributors and all of the service providers out there. How should they be getting involved with the associations in these kinds of projects?

Barry Birenbaum:
Well, first of all, I believe that every manufacturer, supplier roofing contractors should be getting involved in this organization, and definitely contribute to the Make-A-Wish foundation as much as they can, as little as they need to, as little as they can. But just stay on course, have a goal. We all should stay focused, stay on track and just put one foot in front of the other and just move forward and just hold your ground, stay focused and just be there when your customer needs you.

Barry Birenbaum:
Just be fair and just be honest. That's one thing that I do, I do not lie because I talk so much that I might forget what I say and that's it in a nutshell. Again I really enjoy being on this coffee conversation which this is my first, but I'd love to attend more. Maybe this is the last one, but next year I definitely will. Again, I love being on the RCA SF board of directors for both the roofing contractors association and the fishing tournament. Just love being here, helping evolve.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I really see too with everything that the industry has gone through for the last year and a half, two years, and now still, Barry you and I were talking about it. There's still so many challenges with huge demand, materials, all those kinds of things. Really these kinds of events, the fishing tournaments, the giving back to the community, the being involved with your local association, it makes it easier to write out those hard times.

Barry Birenbaum:
As we experienced this shortage of materials, which it'll go through eventually. But again, this fishing tournament or these fishing tournaments, take your mind off all that. It's an area and a time where you can forget about the work. You can forget about the material shortage, you get down there and you just enjoy the company of your friends, your family. And again, it's just a getaway. It's get away from all the hustle and bustle that we're involved with day in, day out.

Heidi Ellsworth:
I love it. I do want to say real quick, a shout out to Jose Rodriguez he's on and he just wanted to say, "Thank you." There's a lot of people on here who are just really, really inspired. So Jackie just as we're coming up to the end of this, but I'd like you to again, just your advice to people, how to get involved. I know you said it once, but let's say it again, how to get involved with Make-A-Wish and also the different opportunities.

Jackie Perl:
Of course. So there are many different ways to get involved. As I said earlier you can refer a child, which that's the way of getting involved. If you have a child that goes to school, getting their school involved with our kids for wish kids program, obviously getting your company involved or getting involved as an individual, as a volunteer wish granter or as a special events volunteer. All of that information is on our website at sfla.wish.org under the volunteers opportunity tab.
And pick it from there, our volunteer manager will reach out to you. Her email is on listed on our website locally. If you're not locally to South Florida, W-I-S-H.org is our national website.

Heidi Ellsworth:
And all of that is in the chat. So you can find it. We will also have all of this up on the website. So last thing Lynne, the importance of making the friendship and the relationship like you and Barry have with Jackie and bringing the association and bringing somebody from Make-A-Wish onto your committee. How important is that?

Lynne Johnston:
That's been so really instrumental in helping us understand the impact that we've been making so that then we can go and share it with the industry. I don't even remember how it first started, where we just said, "Well, why don't we just invite Jackie to one of the meetings? And she can share some information with us." And once she came to one meeting, it was like we need her to come to every meeting because they do a lot of fundraising. She does do things with other people, not just us.
She gets us a lot of information about how Make-A-Wish does these. And we just have a lot of ideas back and forth and for her to be able to come to the fishing tournament and then see everything, how it all plays out. It's just been fantastic being able to be with her and have her involved with it.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Well, I have to tell you and I think when we made it through without crying too much, so we did pretty good [crosstalk 00:57:11]. I know just a little bit. But I want to thank all of you. You are inspiring, you've inspired me, you've inspired all the people watching and you're inspiring the entire roofing industry. So thank you for everything that you do. I wish I was going to be there June 11, but I'm looking at 2022 to be there with you guys at that fishing tournament. You sold me, it's awesome.

Barry Birenbaum:
Absolutely.

Lynne Johnston:
We can't wait. We can't wait to see you.

Heidi Ellsworth:
It is great. Well, thank you so much for being here and thank you everyone for listening. I just know that you have to be as inspired as I am right now. And to get involved, please go to the corporate challenges on both of those sites, you can find them in the chat. If you can give that would be great because it all goes to helping Make-A-Wish for beautiful young children.
So now I'm going to get goosebumps. I do want to let everyone know that again this is our season finale for season two. So we're going to go on hiatus over the summer, but not 100%. We are actually going to be doing the first live on-site coffee conversations at our very first one will be at FRSA. So I'm hoping to see all my Florida friends when we're there at that show.
Maybe we'll get you into the booth and have a little conversation about how the tournament went, but look for us at the FRSA show, we'll be out in the lobby. We'll be having live coffee conversations. It's going to be great. And then at IRE in Vegas, we will also have a live coffee conversation again sponsored by ABC Supply. It's going to be phenomenal. We've got a great booth right up in front, sound booth. We're going to be interviewing everybody, finding about how their year is going and really the excitement of all being back together again.
So please join us for those. As you all know, you can watch any of these under read listen watch under coffee conversations. They're all on demand. This is on demand. You'll be able to watch it. Barry, you can share it with all your family. Lynne's family's all here already. So we're going to have it. In fact, I think Jackie said it's going to even be ... Some links will be on Make-A-Wish. So lots of great ways to watch this again in the future.
So for the season two, from all of us at Roofers Coffee Shop, we appreciate you so much. We appreciate everybody in this roofing industry and Barry, Jackie and Lynne, thank you so much for being on our season finale.

Jackie Perl:
Thank you so much for having me.

Barry Birenbaum:
Thank you.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you. Everyone, have a great day and we'll see you live at FRSA in July. See you there. Bye bye.

Barry Birenbaum:
Thank you. Bye bye everybody.

Heidi Ellsworth:
Thank you.



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