WESTFIELD – Robin Cooley was so appreciative of the work being done by Westfield Technical Academy construction and electrical wiring students who are building the new house at 8 Lewis St. that she decided to bring them treats in the morning. The students recently returned her thoughtfulness.
“Since they started at the beginning of the school year, [I did it] just as an incentive. I work for the Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry, and deliver donuts and snacks for the kids every morning,” Cooley said, adding, “They’ve done a fabulous job on the house so far.”
Cooley works full-time for Aetna Insurance, and has volunteered for the Soup Kitchen for the past three years, and the Food Pantry, which is right next door, for the last year and a half. “I’m just the lady that delivers donuts every day,” she said.
Cooley’s house on White Street is right behind the new house, so she’s been able to see the daily progress being made. She said the house that was previously there had been condemned and had families of raccoons living in it. “It took a lot of phone calls to get the house knocked down. It was awful. I can’t tell you the critters that were living in there,” she said.
When she learned that the person who bought the property at auction was going to have the school build it, she thought it was a great idea and “a great experience for these kids.”
Besides bringing donuts, Cooley said she’s never complained during the building project. “I told them to take the fence down. Anything they needed, I was willing to help them out. They’re doing us a favor by building a beautiful house there,” she said,
To thank Cooley for being “the best neighbor that they ever had to work with,” the students recently presented her with two Adirondack chairs they had made in their shop at school.
“I was so thankful when they presented me with these chairs, that was the last thing I expected from those kids. It was such a thoughtful gift, something they took upon themselves to do,” she said.
“I just wanted to give the kids credit for all their hard work, and take pictures of the house as it came along. I think the kids’ parents are proud of them, too. I’m just trying to show the community what these kids are doing, and what they’ve learned the past two, three and four years, walking out with a skill to be able to move on in life with,” Cooley said.
“These kids need some acknowledgement of the work that they do in the town. I told them to let me know where their next house is, and I’ll drop off goodies there,” she added.