Capehart Rallies to Support Church in Need

The winter of 2013-14 has been brutal and relentless, replete with driving winds, frozen streets, and massive, soot-laden snowbanks. Those who have just endured it know one thing all too well: the elements can be unforgiving. Most, however, take for granted the reassuring warmth of their homes, their workplaces, and their houses of worship.

One group of people have learned that the heat of summer and especially the cold of winter are not necessarily God-given.  This assembly of hard working residents of Camden have often witnessed misery among their neighbors and fellow churchgoers.  They gather each Sunday for a lengthy service that gives them the strength to carry on their jobs and to raise their families in what seems like a tough environment to outsiders.  What a casual observer may not glean is that this flock uses their time in church to thank the Lord, their pastor and each other for the opportunities they have, even though the opportunities might come in the form of two full-time jobs, worked back-to-back.

One day last year, the unthinkable happened.  It was something that did not cross their minds, even as they spent long hours in the service of the Lord.  One evening, some individuals that were not so charitably minded broke through the fence that offered some protection to the building and the worshippers.  They selected that building because it has what they wanted – the outdoor units of the heat pump for the winter and the compressor for the summer.  It was devastating because these individuals worked hard and provided for their families, but there was no nest egg or rainy day fund, and it turned out that there was also no insurance.  The same thoughtless individuals had also taken the same equipment from several other businesses, but these were almost immediately replaced by their business insurance.  There was little hope that that these units would be replaced within a few years, but the solace offered by their pastor and each other would be missed, like the baby teeth that left a big gap once they grew out.

One of the affected worshipers happened to be Luis Fuente, who, along with his wife Isabella, both worked a second job, employed by the company that was retained to clean the law offices of Capehart Scatchard in Mt. Laurel.

A dedicated and tireless worker, Luis arrives at the offices on weekday evenings, after completing a long shift operating a forklift at a manufacturing facility in Camden. He is widely known among attorneys and staff for his jovial attitude, bright smile, and considerable passion for Philadelphia sports; the Sixers, the Flyers, the Phillies, and especially his Eagles. He’s quick to strike up a conversation about the most recent game or news, and his eternal optimism bolsters the spirits of even the most beleaguered and jaded Philly sports fan.

One night before the punishing snow and cold weather arrived, Luis was at work doing his usual good job cleaning, when some of the attorneys that worked late noticed that Luis had lost just a little of the bounce in his step.  They told the managing partner of Capehart, who asked him if everything was all right.  Well Luis did not want to say, but eventually he relayed the troubling news of the theft. Mind you that Luis had never asked for anything before.

The next morning, the firm’s executive committee assembled and sent a firm-wide email, informing everyone of what had been learned. At the conclusion of the message, the partners of Capehart Scatchard were asked to help Luis, his family, and his Church.  Once the word got around, the younger attorneys and the entire staff went into action.  We met with the Pastor and his wife, and also the Church elders, who had developed a plan without any hope that it would ever be implemented.  The church members were going to supply all the labor, this time to install the replacement units behind a concrete and cinder block wall, with steel bars embedded so that no one else could repeat what had happened.  What they needed were two new replacement units and to hire a crane for a day to lift the equipment over the church and into the safe and sturdy cocoons around the back of the Church.

Contributions began to come in, with participation by every level of firm employee.  Seeing the outpouring, the firm agreed to match the funds and within a few weeks, we called the Pastor and the elders to our offices and surprised them by coming within a few hundred dollars of their needs.  They were so happy, and they had done some fundraising of their own, and the combined funds were sufficient to get the job, just in time before the first snowfall.

Pastor Alexy, along with his family, joined in the lobby of Capehart Scatchard’s Mount Laurel office building for a joyous ceremony to accept the oversized check in the amount of $5,352. Pastor Alexy was overjoyed and overwhelmed by the show of solidarity and support, and thanked the members of the Capehart family for their kindness, compassion, and generosity.

The next month, Reverend Vasquez and Pastor Alexy were able to purchase two HVAC units and have them installed in their church at 2512 Carman Street.  A group from the firm visited the Church and happily reported that the HVAC units are installed, operational, and surrounded by a protective apparatus aimed at barring future theft.  Luis and Isabella were so happy and they were lauded by the rest of the church members. Not much more was said, but we were all happy to see the spring back in Luis’s step, despite the bad luck that his beloved Philadelphia teams were experiencing.