One Man, Many Lives: The Millcraft Bus Stop Shelter

One Man, Many Lives: The Millcraft Bus Stop Shelter

It’s hard to say what you’d have seen when looking out the wall-sized window, it’s only clear to say what Division Manager of Millcraft Dayton Evan Baker saw – or rather what he noticed.

Located at 2850 Needmore Road in Dayton, Ohio, the Millcraft Dayton Division building is the workplace for Millcraft salesforce team and warehouse employees, including drivers. The facility houses a conference room with a wall-sized window that faces streetside – views looking out may include grass or snow, trees alongside Needmore Road, a four-lane main thoroughfare of Dayton, and a bus stop. 

But Baker noticed something else in his view. 

One Man, One Idea

“You see the folks waiting for the bus who just need to get to work and go home,” Baker says. “They were out there standing in the grass basically, without any protection. Many times, I had seen them stand there in rain and snow, high winds, just awful weather. And that is where the idea came from.”

Watching Millcraft employees and Dayton community members enduring unnecessary hardship brought Baker to recall his own childhood; his father wasn’t around. “My mother and four children, we were on our own… She supported our family and she ended up riding the bus. It was a burden, walking to and from… Life is hard enough. I figured if we could help one mother out there, or anyone really, it would be a good thing.” 

When Baker looked out that wall-sized window, he saw grass and trees – but what he noticed were the people. He wanted a bus stop shelter at 2850 Needmore Road for those people, but “an idea is just a wish without a plan.”

One Man, One Idea: Many Hands

Baker brought his idea to Millcraft’s executive team in November, 2023. Met with company-wide approval, Baker says, “One of our core values at Millcraft is to make a meaningful impact in the communities we operate in and Millcraft serves. It’s one thing for me to have an idea. But, to be supported by all of our Millcraft team members, sales teams, our president… it speaks to who Millcraft is as a company.” 

Baker says he initially had no idea what would be required of the project, or what it would cost. However, enter emails and more emails, and back-and-forth phone calls and follow-ups with multiple people from the Regional Travel Authority (Greater Dayton RTA), development department of Harrison Township District, county engineers, and contractors. Throughout November and December 2023 and into January 2024, Baker continued to pursue the bus stop shelter becoming a reality. 

He says he was continually met with approval and even a willingness from others to help. For example, the Greater Dayton RTA offered this: If Millcraft was willing to pay for the concrete necessary, the RTA would agree to provide the bus stop shelter and even install it. Additionally, a helpful person pointed Baker to grant funding available for beautification of community projects, complete with whom to contact. 

One Man, One Idea: Many Hands, Many Lives

As of January 4, 2024, the concrete is poured and the Millcraft Bus Stop Shelter now stands at 2850 Needmore Road in Dayton, Ohio. Beautification plans are underway for plantings and signage, and an upgraded trash receptacle is a possibility. Millcraft will host a small ribbon-cutting ceremony when friendlier weather arrives.

As to the approximate $4,000 amount that Millcraft ultimately invested in Baker’s idea for the bus stop shelter, funding the project via Millcraft’s Buy & Give initiative was considered. Established in 2015, Millcraft’s Buy & Give program grew out of its mission to create meaningful impact within Millcraft’s communities, and to give back to those in need. 

The program provides businesses the opportunity to support local charities through routine purchases of Millcraft’s Buy & Give brand office paper, and for every carton of paper purchased, Millcraft donates $1 to the program. To-date, Millcraft’s Buy & Give copy paper program has generated nearly $770,000 for local charities within Midwest communities that Millcraft serves, impacting thousands of people and families. 

However, while the bus stop shelter in Dayton aligns with the mission of Millcraft’s Buy & Give Program, Baker says Millcraft President Travis Mlaker wanted to ensure that charitable organizations and beneficiaries of Buy & Give receive every dollar possible. Mlaker chose to fund the bus stop shelter as a donation directly from Millcraft. 

One man, one idea; many hands, many lives. Baker proposed an idea for a bus stop shelter, and many hands and hearts were involved in the project that is today the Millcraft Bus Stop Shelter that stands to affect many lives for years to come. As Baker says, “Now, the people who need to get to work and get home have shelter from the rain and snow, and they can have a seat on the bench and relax if they’d like to or need to.”

Prior to January 2024, it’s hard to say what you’d have seen when looking out the wall-sized window of the conference room at 2850 Needmore Road. It’s only clear to say what Baker saw and that, with the support of many including Millcraft, the view now includes the betterment of all involved.

By: Jen W. O’Deay


Photos will be added as the project continues. 

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