Tony Melle has been with EDA for the past 14 years, joining as a Carpenter Foreman. Today he makes sure everything is running smoothly at Newark Liberty Airport, overseeing the successful completing of EDA’s scope for the new terminal gates! Ever since joining the EDA Family, Tony has been involved with many of our EDA Cares charities, most recently including Make-A-Wish and the Veterans Multi-Purpose Center of Philadelphia.
Thank you for you service Tony, what branch of the US Services did you enter and why did you choose that path?
I entered the Airforce right out of High School and worked as a Jet Mechanic. I didn’t have a lot of options, I couldn’t really afford college, financially my parents couldn’t afford it, so it was a way to do something different and see other places.
How does it feel being able to work with Vets through EDA Cares?
I love that the company lets us do this and we have the ability to do this. You know, veterans, because I am one, are near and dear to my heart. I’ve lost a lot of friends, some of them suicides, you know it’s tough when they get out. There’s not much for them unless they know how to really take advantage of programs and even then, it’s still hard. I see a lot of homeless vets and it breaks my heart you know I want to help them out.
What’s one of the recent projects you’ve been a part of for the Veterans Multi-Purpose Center?
[EDA Cares] did the Edison 64 project this summer, which is a program of the VMC that rehomes vets out on the streets. We teamed up with Heroic Gardens, which is really another good charity, to build a bunch of planters so they could plant vegetables and flowers. The building is in North Philadelphia, it’s just all concrete, so those planters are the only vegetation around and they love it.
Can you remember a time when the EDA Family showed our Successful Together mindset, volunteering through EDA Cares?
The treehouse we did for Kylie, a little girl from the Make-A-Wish Foundation who wished for a treehouse in her backyard. That was a two-pronged attack, we had the house being built in the shop while we had to build the deck out on site with the concrete. I had guys like Johnny Melle, Chris Hallahan, Pat Schmidt, and Kodi Nixon, just to name a few, who would meet me at Home Depot after we worked our shifts. We would all load up what we needed, bring it to the house, pour the concrete, and put in some work after we got done at our sites. I drew up what I wanted the house to look like and Matt Pinto (EDA Fabrication Shop Manager) and the shop did a great job. We did the assembly at the house on a Saturday, and we ended up having too many volunteers! We had people raking the leaves in the yard around the treehouse, all these people came out on their own free time, a Saturday to come and help and it was really wonderful.