Russ DiBartolomeo

Russ DiBartolomeo is like so many who learned about Life Remodeled through a business acquaintance. In his case, it was Steve Guidos from Cunningham-Limp construction, whose contributions to previous Life Remodeled projects included the medical simulation lab at Cody High School and the media center at Osborn High.

“Steve knew I was in the steel fabricating business and knew I did these park shelters, so he says ‘You might have something laying around that you could donate, something simple.’ I said I would help, then I saw the architect’s drawings and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, what did I get myself involved with?’’’

The what is the centerpiece of the Skinner Park transformation in Denby, a performance pavilion intended to become a community gathering place where nothing like it exists today.

“We pretty much gave ‘em everything they wanted,” said Russ, who is president and owner of Ross & Barr Inc., whose Coverworx division is doing the construction. “Once I’ve committed to something, I’m not going to back out on it.”

As a 1967 graduate of Denby High, Russ has a special motivation for the project. “I wanted to give back to the community and I’d like to see it come back.”

That includes three picnic shelters at Skinner Park that came up after Russ signed on for the pavilion. “Chris (Lambert) called me up one day and said we need a couple more shelters,” Russ said. “I said we’d do them, but I realized I could not bill my suppliers for something like that, so my wife is donating them.” Marcia DiBartolomeo is a 1966 graduate of Denby.

Russ wants to do more for Denby and he wrote to his graduating class, telling them about next month’s Life Remodeled effort.

“I just felt like there were 600 of us. Why spend money on the reunion? Let’s spend money on the school, something more meaningful than a party.”