Construction Workers Display “God’s Grace” in Renovation of Boys’ Home
by Scott Braddock on January 2, 2013 at 11:02 AM
The blue collar heroes we talk about all the time on Construction Citizen are constantly doing good works throughout the communities where they live. In fact, they do this work in an under-the-radar kind of way that causes them to seldom be thanked for it.
I found a prime example of this in Northwest Harris County, where workers for several companies including Karsten Interiors, Excel Drywall, D.E. Harvey Builders, Marek Brothers Systems, and others were helping to renovate a boys’ home called The Good Shepherd Residential Treatment Center. (See below for a complete list of the companies involved.)
Founded in 1999, the center is a 40-bed home for boys who have been removed from their families by Texas courts for a variety of reasons. It is a non-profit and is always in need of donations.
Administrator and CEO of The Good Shepherd, Dr. J. Charles Hinds, told me some of the boys were simply neglected by their families and others were subjected to terrible abuse. “Some of which were so horrible that if I told you about them you’d think I was making it up,” Hinds said. “Some of these children can be violent because of their past experiences – they’ll do things like bust holes in the walls.” The fact that the walls are now being fixed brings him nearly to tears.
The renovation is the brainchild of Hayden Austin, a Project Manager at D.E. Harvey Builders. “I used to live out there on Coons Road, where the treatment center is,” he told me. “I would drive past this place every day on my way to work and on my way home. I saw the boys out front sometimes and always wondered what this place was – I figured it was an orphanage.” Then one day a few years ago he stopped at the center, met with the folks who ran the place, and decided to get involved in the lives of the boys who lived there.
“I offered to help in any way I could – at first I was met with some hesitation, but was allowed to schedule a ‘serve date’ with some friends of mine to come out and do some pressure washing of their existing buildings and to install some lattice around their trailers,” Austin said. “That Christmas some friends and family came together to get all forty boys living at the facility a backpack, a new toothbrush, and a simple Bible. I’ll never forget when Dr. Hines leaned over to me and whispered, as the kids were opening their gifts, ‘For most of these boys this is the first Christmas gift they’ve ever received.’ I was brought to tears and brokenhearted over this. At that point I decided we had to stay involved.”
Fast forward a few years, and Austin has asked other companies to help the boys at The Good Shepherd. He says they've all stepped up cheerfully. When I visited the facility last week, men were working as fast as they could to make necessary repairs to the buildings before Christmas. Austin estimates that over $100,000 has been donated in cash, materials and labor for this project.
Foreman on the project for Marek Brothers, Doug Eckerman, said it makes the workers feel good to do something like this in the community. “It’s a fulfilling job doing this for the kids,” he said. “I think they’re going to really see a difference when this is all done. It’ll be like getting a new house for Christmas.”
Hinds said the workers and the companies they're employed by are doing something selfless and deserve the appreciation of everyone.
“Today we live in a ‘me’ society in which folks generally don’t go outside themselves, especially with tough economic times and other financial considerations. But these folks come out, and they help because they've seen the faces of these children,” he said.
“All these folks come out and donate their time, their energy, and their effort for the health, safety and welfare of these children. And by extension, that will roll out in this community and these children’s lives, because they will remember that someone did something for them without anything they necessarily did to deserve it,” Hinds said. “What I’m saying is that what you see in these construction workers is God’s grace. No question about it.”
Companies involved in the renovation of The Good Shepherd Residential Treatment Center in Tomball, Texas:
- Marek Brothers
- Karsten Waltech
- Trio Electric
- Merit Electirc
- E3 Electric
- Architectural Floors
- ACS Flooring
- BMF Solutions
- Versatrac Southeast Fire Protection
- Environment Ltd.
- Buffalo Cabinets
- Roomi International
- FC Designs
- Solid Surfaces, Inc.
- Fast Track Specialties
- CE Anderson
- American Stone
- National Tile
- Excel Drywall
- Dynamic Glass
- Environmental Design
- D.E. Harvey Builders
- Precision Site Works
- Capital Fire Protection
- Agile OFIS
- Troy Construction
- Quality Facility
- Clunn Acoustical