SAN PATRICIO COUNTY – It was a day of service for Gulf Coast Growth Ventures (GCGV) employees who spent last Saturday volunteering with the Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group (CBDRG).

About 45 members of the GCGV Manufacturing Team split up into four groups, each working at different homes in Ingleside and Gregory. They also did a trash cleanup at Sunset Lake Park. Two homes received a fresh coat of paint including trim and ceilings and one home received its final cleanup before homeowners return.

The volunteers represent a group of ExxonMobil employees who are working and training in other ExxonMobil locations and  will eventually operate the GCGV plant. Several brought spouses as well.

“We are excited to be here, as a good neighbor, making a positive impact, even before we begin operations,” said Paul Fritsch, GCGV site manager.

Fritsch and the employees from this group will relocate to the area in about 12 months to continue preparations for startup.

“We’ve already hired over 100 local employees for this project,” he said. “Some of them are here today, sweating and painting before spending the rest of the weekend with family in the area.”

Gene Medders is a first line supervisor with the Utilities Group from the Gregory-Portland area and said he’s excited to be on the GCGV startup team, and volunteering in his hometown.

“We want to show that we are willing to be a big part of the community, even before we have established the plant,” Medders said. “And once we are established, we will continue to do these kinds of events and be a part of the community.”

Robert Peplinski, GCGV olefins and utilities process manager, volunteered with his son, Ryan, who is also an ExxonMobil employee.

“Within GCGV and ExxonMobil, community is extremely important and we are very blessed to be involved with a company that allows us to use our time and talents to impact the community,” Robert said.

When asked how it felt to help a family get back into their home, he added, “My heart goes out to everybody who has had to endure Hurricane Harvey. I hope you enjoy your home because we surely enjoyed working on it for you.”

CBDRG organizes volunteers and assists those who need help as part of long-term recovery efforts in the local region.

“We coordinate with people all over the country who come out and perform different services,” said Micah Hale, a CBDRG project manager.

CBDRG Volunteer and Donation Manager JoAnn Buchanan encourages those who are interested in helping to visit www.coastalbenddrg.org to learn more.

“ExxonMobil, thank you!” she said. “Thank you for your help. Thank you for the volunteers you sent from all over the place. It makes a difference. Thank you to everyone in the community who has helped us get these families back in their home.”

GCGV is a joint venture of ExxonMobil and SABIC that is preparing to build a plastics manufacturing plant outside Gregory in South Texas. The site is in pre-construction currently, with a target startup date of late 2021.