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Sears employees' quick thinking makes difference for Pine Acres Rehab & Living Center project

DeKALB – A tour to help local communities with construction projects made an unplanned stop in DeKalb to help a rehabilitation center build new bike racks. 

The Craftsman "Make A Difference Tour," which is stopping at more than 20 locations throughout the nation, almost didn't make it to Pine Acres Rehab & Living Center in DeKalb. The tour truck typically carries the latest Craftman tools and equipment for display while helping with community service projects at each location. 

But Sears District Manager Eric Nowaczyk said the truck with the Craftsman tools was rear-ended in Sturgis, S.D. The normally impressive display was stuck in Minnesota for repairs and would not be on hand at the Pine Acres. 

The show had to go on, though. Craftsman tour volunteers, along with local Sears Hometown Store employees, were going to build the bike rack with whatever tools were on hand. One of them was a miter saw for cutting the lumber. 

"We made a commitment and we're going to do it for these guys," Nowaczyk said. 

Previously, Nowaczyk was with the tour at Fairview Park in Rochelle to help build benches. 

Close to a dozen volunteers were at the back end of the building to put together the bike racks Thursday. The racks were planned to be 6-feet long and 3-feet wide. Brendon Protano, owner of the Sears Hometown Store in Dekalb, said the racks would hold about 12 bikes. 

Nowaczyk said the Sears Hometown Store volunteers were bringing in the lumber and manpower while the Craftsman volunteers brought the tools. 

When Protano was notified of the possibility of the tour making an unscheduled stop in DeKalb from one of his bosses, he contacted the Pine Acres to see what it needed. He was told it needed bike racks, which would be used by residents, employees and visitors. 

"It's a great way for us to show people what our tools can do," Protano said. 

Lindsey Kallenberger, Pine Acres activity director, said the bike racks would definitely benefit the employees, volunteers and visitors at the rehabilitation center. She said this was a project that takes special people to accomplish. 

"I just think it's great they are doing this and great they are giving back to the community," she said. 

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