Tom Decker:: Rehabing Homes and LivesNov 20, 2017 ● By Martin Miron
Many people are concerned about crime and recidivism, but one suburban Chicago businessman walks the walk and has devoted his life to hands-on solutions to help people with special needs or issues related to social justice. Tom Decker, owner of Chicago Green Insulation, has spent the past 30 years working directly to support human rights, from inmates on death row in Oklahoma (where he is from) to New York City after school-programs for inner-city kids in public housing. He’s served as camp assistant director at Ramapo Anchorage Camp and director of both the NYC Coalition for the Homeless Camp and Vacation Camp for the Blind, all in upstate New York.
In addition to his many awards to date, Decker received special recognition in October for his company’s inmate re-entry services from the Coalition to Reduce Recidivism (ReduceRecidivism.org) at their 14th annual luncheon and job fair. The all-volunteer Coalition provides practical assistance for men and women in Lake County, Illinois, that need a second chance, including work uniforms, transportation and school fees.
Decker’s work with death row inmates started when he was 20 years old after a homophobic judge sentenced the man that killed his openly gay godfather, Garland McKinney, to just 20 years for “justifiable” homicide. In 1985, Decker founded an Amnesty International chapter at the University of Oklahoma. He joined the board of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and worked with The Innocence Project and cofounded Groovefest (Groovefest.org), the largest, longest-running human rights music festival, still going 31years later.
Decker opened Chicago Green Insulation in 2013 with the expressed purpose of using energy-efficient foam insulation to do good work by making homes and businesses super-efficient, and to help ex-felons find meaningful employment. The company is working with the Obama Foundation on several initiatives, and also with Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to address skill building for those currently serving time and ready to end their cycle of recidivism.
Of Chicago Green Insulation’s products and services, Decker says, “You know what you are getting and where it will be installed. There is pride in our work and a commitment that is obvious from the first call to the last stage of the cleanup. You are hiring a contractor who is working with not-for-profit and faith organizations offering employment to individuals who have been down on their luck and need a good-paying job that will be there day in and day out.”
Chicago Green Insulation is a member of the Insulation Contractors Association of America, Highland Park Chamber of Commerce and many other associations. For more information, call 847-987-3626, email [email protected] or visit ChicagoGreenInsulation.com.