HeroWork Hero Series: John DeMedeiros



John is the kind of guy whom everyone speaks highly of. And when you get a chance to speak with him you can understand why. There are a lot of values that HeroWork embodies, and John is the kind of person who personifies them.

Like so many of the other people I’ve spoken to with HeroWork, John has a deep-seated drive to offer everything he possibly can to help out his community and those in need. And like so many others with HeroWork he is humble in talking about the dedication and involvement of others before himself.

“It’s absolutely incredible,” says John, “People are working the ninth or tenth hour, coming on their weekend taking up their own personal time. We as trades in the summertime, we’re already working 10-12 hour days, yet these guys are here working another 10-12 hours on a Saturday and another 8-10 hours on a Sunday, and then go back to work on Monday and not complain. I only see smiles and positivity. And even when it was tough—and believe me, it’s a stressful situation to be in because it’s such a time crunch—I cannot believe how people overcome that stress, the insecurities, the uneasiness, the demands, whatever. It really is a full plate and it’s amazing how everybody comes together and makes it happen.”

John ready for paint spray.

John ready for paint spray.

Darlene Potentier, a HeroWork volunteer veteran and member of the Board of Directors, talked about John’s incredible hard work when I asked her if she had a story that stood out to her during one of the Radical Renos. “The one that stands out to me is about John DeMedeiros and his painting company, where he was still there on both the Mustard Seed project and the Threshold Society project. He was there when we left at 9 o’clock at night, and he was still there at 6 o’clock in the morning when we opened up. He knew we were on a schedule, because if A wasn’t done, B couldn’t get done the next day…he was dog-tired when you saw him in the morning, I think he could hardly stand up, yet he was there the next day again. He would go off and do his work and come back that night for more [volunteer] work. That kind of dedication was just overwhelming to see.”

John owns NuEdge Painting, a relatively young company of about five years that he opened with his son who had recently graduated, but who had taken an interest in learning his father’s trade. “I was actually out of the industry for a little while looking at semi-retiring, and I’m a Victoria boy, but I had my own business in Toronto and I was there for almost 20 years. And I always wanted to come back to Victoria—back home….” Four years later, business is very steady for the both of them. In referring to his son he said, “He’s doing extremely well and loving it, I’m loving it, it’s great!”

Like many HeroWork volunteers, John was made aware of HeroWork through someone he knew, and from there the flame was lit. “I actually was brought on board by another contractor who introduced me to the first project with which I got involved, which was The Mustard Seed. And at the time, one of the gentlemen that was with Dave from Clad Construction was in the mix and was already established in a relationship with Paul [Latour] in a few other trades, and they were looking for a painter, and Dave introduced me… I was all ears and loved what it was all about and have been with it ever since.”

It would also seem that a knack for helping out runs through John’s family. His son, wife, and daughter all contribute to HeroWork projects in whatever ways they can. “I’m very fortunate that my family is supportive of my endeavours and very much behind my believing in HeroWork and what it’s all about. My son has always volunteered from day one in all three projects and I’m very proud of him for doing that. My wife and I have a little one, a nine-year-old, so it’s difficult for her, but even my little girl will do posters at home for the project. And my wife works for the government and she got the people in the office to donate food for The Mustard Seed. So they’re more outside of what I do, behind the scenes, but they do their best and are very supportive and I’m very fortunate and blessed that I have a family that believes in what I believe in.”

Finishing up one of the walls.

Finishing up the texture on the walls.

There are a number of reasons why John feels compelled to help out the Victoria community with HeroWork, “…I truly hold this city to my heart. And I remember growing up what a wonderful place it was—it felt safe and secure. But you know things are tough these days and you see a lot of people on the streets, and you see the housing crisis, so you’ve got a lot of people who are just having a tough time. You know, I look at my son and I wonder, ‘how can he afford to buy a home?’ and those kinds of things. So it takes an extraordinary effort to give people a chance, and I’m not a wealthy man by any means, but if I can offer anything, and that can be my sweat, it’s that kind of thing that HeroWork has given me the opportunity to do where I can use my skillsets in a way that I can give back to the community I hold dear to my heart. So that’s what HeroWork has done for me. It’s given me an opportunity to give where I can give.”

As an immensely inspiring individual, I asked John one of my favourite questions—what would you say to someone who is considering becoming a volunteer with HeroWork? “Don’t even think twice about not doing it. It is an experience that you will cherish for the rest of your life. It is something that you will hold dear to your heart. It is something where you will meet the most incredible people. And when it’s all said and done, you will come out of there feeling like you’ve done a world of good. As little as you may know as far as what your abilities are, don’t let that deter you. Everybody’s ability is about their heart, and it’s amazing what it does to you. It’s just an amazing feeling!”

I am certainly humbled after talking to John, and indeed everyone else who has been so dedicated in offering their time and effort to support their community through HeroWork. I’ll leave you with one last thing that John said to me, “…when you come into this environment, it’s an incredible experience, because everybody is on the same page. If we could live by HeroWork’s ethic on a job, oh man, this world would be a better place! I’m telling you, it’s quite amazing to watch and to be a part of. It’s incredible!”

You can check out John’s business, NuEdge Painting, and find other incredible businesses that put their community first in the HeroWork Sponsors Directory.

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