By Tom Greenwood, The Detroit News, Sept. 2, 2011
Whoever said “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” never met the guys at Ajax Paving, Inc.
Headquartered in Madison Heights, Ajax is one of the largest, and oldest, paving companies in Michigan.
And, as I recently found out, they’re one of the most generous.
Just ask River Rouge resident Jeffrey Meade, a member of the U.S. Army who is set to ship out to Afghanistan on Tuesday. Things have been tough for Meade, his wife, Jennifer, and their two children, ages 2 and 13.
His car was recently stolen and he had been laid off from two jobs while waiting for his deployment. Their rent was overdue and there was just no money.
“I was away on maneuvers at Camp Grayling when someone came to my home and told Jennifer, in public, that we were going to be evicted the next day,” said Meade, 36. “Our street was being repaired and an Ajax safety inspector happened to overhear everything and saw my wife crying.”
Later that night, that safety inspector, Joe Landino, visited the Meade home and turned over $900 in donations from fellow safety committee members Sandy McMillan, Chris George, Johnnie Williams, Bob Bame, Al Farina, Paul Graney, Dave Grabowski, Brian Borich and Leo Remijan.
“It made us feel so very blessed,” Mead said.
But Landino had another surprise for the family.
“The previous day he had noticed that my daughter’s glasses were broken,” Meade said. “He returned and took Jennifer and my daughter to a store and bought her two pairs of glasses out of his own pocket.”
The story gets better.
“Later, the guys from Ajax showed up again and this time presented us with three checks totaling $10,000,” said Meade, who was dumbfounded by the generous act. “Then they took us to a used car lot where we got a special deal on a 2002 Saturn Vue. We were able to pay our rent, catch up on some bills and were even able to put a little money in the bank.”
According to the Meade, Landino raised $5,000 from Ajax employees across the state which was then matched by Ajax president Mark Johnston.
The family sent a heartfelt letter of thanks to Ajax CEO James Jacob, who said his employees had done everything completely on their own.
When things really get tough, sometimes your best friends are strangers.