MOUNT VERNON — In Rolls-Royce’s first Action Day, eight interns and four co-ops volunteered to help renovate the Woodward Opera House on Wednesday.
Despite traveling from as close as Newark, to as far as India and Jamaica, and most having never heard of Mount Vernon prior to their internship, the interns are engaging themselves in the community and leaving their contribution to positively impact later generations.
“There’s an old saying, ‘A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.’ I may not benefit from the theater, but the community will, and I was apart of it,” Richard Greenwood, customer business LDP intern, said.
The interns worked to clear debris from an old brick wall in the basement while harvesting the bricks to be used in other areas of the building. In fact, all materials from the building are being saved and reused in the rebuilding process.
The community service project was designed to promote teamwork and provide interns an “opportunity to get involved in their host communities,” said Rolls-Royce early career recruitment advisor Nicole Picarra.
When the interns were presented the opportunity to help restore a historic piece of Mount Vernon, they seized it and took over project plans from there.
“[The interns] really ran with it. They organized everything from the design on their T-shirts to what snacks they were having today,” Gary Hyman, head of communication-energy at Rolls-Royce, said. “They’re not only getting field work, but project management experience as well.”
“Rolls-Royce is not a ‘get me a cup of coffee’ kind of company; you have real responsibilities here,” Greenwood said. “We’re performing functions that actually have an impact on the company and that allows us to feel a part of it.”
Built in 1851 by Ebenezer Woodward, the Woodward Opera House has already undergone extensive restorations, beginning as early as the 1970s.