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Spotlight on a [Re]Builder: Bob Quinn

Bob Quinn is a DMV native and longtime supporter of RTMC.
He has been involved since the organization was known as Christmas In April. For 30 years, Bob has been a steadfast supporter helping our neighbors in need. Bob is an enthusiastic supporter of our mission, an active member of his church and their Kiwanis Club, and has also held various leadership positions within RTMC. Bob has served as a RTMC House Captain, Board Member and Board President. He also takes part in our annual RTMC Golf Tournament. 

We commend Bob for his commitment to our community, homeowners, and volunteers. Bob’s leadership over the years has been instrumental to the long-term success of RTMC and we are so grateful to him. Recently, we spoke with him to hear more about his longtime history with RTMC:

RTMC: How did you first hear about RTMC and decide to get involved?

BQ: I started with Rebuilding Together when it was still called Christmas in April back in about 1990, through my church’s Kiwanis Club. Kiwanis Clubs decide for themselves what projects to do in their community, based on their own community’s needs and their members’ interests. When we worked with RTMC I thought it was a great team-building activity and before I knew it I became a House Captain. I’ve been involved with RTMC almost every year since then, so 30 years! I have also served on the board for about six years and served as board president. 

RTMC: What is the most memorable moment you’ve had while collaborating on an act of service with RTMC?

BQ: A number of years ago, our group worked with several elderly homeowners in Bethesda who both had a hoarding disorder. They were also the parents of high school-aged kids. When we first stepped into the house, we couldn’t see the floor because of all of the trash that had accumulated over time. There was also a bad case of mold. This was one of the first times our organization had dealt with hoarding issues. 

It took a crew of people in hazmat suits and two thirty-yard dumpsters to go in there and clean things out before we could get volunteers to go in. There was so much work to be done both inside and outside the house. 

The homeowners’ six-year-old daughter asked if we could paint a room yellow. Usually we only offered white or off-white but my Co-Captain said, “Whatever color you want, we’re going to paint it!” This family hadn’t had anyone over for years. It was a really touching moment, especially considering how long it had been since the family could have guests over or live in a clean space. After a two-month process, we were able to make that a reality for them.

On another occasion, I ran into a sweet woman who I had helped through RTMC 15 years ago. She recognized me as someone who worked on her mother’s driveway all those years ago. Her mother now had dementia, but she remembered us from working on that house. To come across a previous homeowner completely out of the blue was really cool.

Lastly, we once brought on a 13- year-old volunteer to our team. At the time this was an issue because the minimum age to volunteer was 14. But this young man was so eager to help, we brought him on and he volunteered with us throughout highschool and up until he went to college.  It’s encouraging to see the kids who volunteer with us and catch the bug right away.

RTMC: How would you like to see RTMC develop moving forward?

BQ: I think one of the things that I think could propel us is to do more of these smaller projects where you have two or three people going in. We used to call it “men and men”, which is an expression from the revolutionary war.

Because sometimes when you have the bigger groups I know that it can be a little hard to manage. But at the same time, that’s what people like. You’re asking volunteers, people who are not asking to do anything other than help somebody they don’t know to give their time to these homeowners in need. The homeowners are extremely grateful at the end of it all. 

RTMC: What brought you to Montgomery County and what has your experience with the area been like?

BQ: I went to high school and college in Virginia. Then I fell in love with a nice Kensington girl and moved across the river before I knew what I was doing. Now we’ve been married 37 years! When I moved to Montgomery County I joined the Kiwanis Club because I was trying to get involved in a civic group and I liked their mission. At the time I had two young kids of my own and I wanted to get them involved. Now they are 31 and 35! I knew the club was a good thing to get involved with and it’s also what led me to RTMC. 

The combination of that and my church engagement is how I would evolve to know everything RTMC has been doing over the years. I’ve been a Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual for 45 years and that allows me the flexibility to volunteer with RTMC year after year. It truly is a labor of love. 

Every year our family has a St. Patrick’s Day party, which actually turns out to be an RTMC fundraiser. We ask people to leave a little bit o’ green in a bucket. The last couple of years we averaged about $1,200 to $1,500 a night. Last year, because of the pandemic, we still had friends and family members send us donations, even though we didn’t have the party. We are looking forward to hosting an in-person gathering for St. Patrick’s Day in 2022!

Having been involved with RTMC for over 30 years, I believe our core support has been from a great group of volunteers. Their enthusiasm and resilience is impressive, and we are happy to be able to help the homeowners in our community with critical needs.