Giving Back During Unprecedented Times:
The Hangar Unity Center, Kingsland Baptist Church, Eyes On Me, Inc., Gryphon Builders, and Covered Roofing Volunteer Together
After the trying year of 2020, most people know someone who can use a helping hand or even just a random act of kindness. From a simple smile to helping a senior citizen cross the street, there are a myriad of ways we all can come together to help each other out and make these trying times a little more bearable.
How We Give Back to the Community
You may know us at Gryphon Builders of Houston, Texas. We are a design-build firm with a longstanding history of giving back to our community. Our Owner and President, Allen Griffin, is no stranger to helping others. He is always leading us by example in selfless acts of kindness in business, as well as, our personal lives. Allen enjoys serving on the state and local Builders Association Boards and Committees. He has spent many years volunteering through the GHBA and his local church’s charity building projects. More recently, Allen has been assisting larger community service organizations like NAREB Faith-Based Initiative and Eyes on Me Inc. Ministries of Houston.
Usually, the role our company, Gryphon Builders, typically plays with these larger organizational projects is that of construction manager. We help develop plans for the project, review and teach the proper construction methods, as well as, list out the materials needed. Most of all, we love to strap on the tool belt to work alongside the workforce of volunteers.
Our Latest Volunteering Efforts
Most recently, Allen was asked by Omar Garcia, Mission Pastor at Kingsland Baptist Church, to help set up what may be one of his largest and most challenging volunteer projects to date. Through Ryan Orbin, Director of The Hangar Unity Center in Brookshire TX., Pastor Omar learned of an elderly man in the community named Mr. Tommy Henderson living in near squalor conditions. His home was in incredibly rough shape–it had more things going wrong with it than going right. From a sagging roof, to lack of indoor plumbing, faulty electrical wiring, and a crumbling infrastructure, Mr. Henderson’s house was in a serious state of deterioration, and we knew immediately we had to help!
The Back Story
Getting to know Mr. Henderson and his home was the starting point for making things right. Allen and Omar met with him to learn what had happened and how they could help. They learned that Mr. Henderson is 75 years old, a resident of Brookshire, Texas for over 20 years, and has a well-lived life. He has 6 marathons under his belt, worked in the shipyards and spent some time in the oil fields. He has never let hardship get him down. Mr. Henderson told them his home was originally owned by his mother and was moved to the current site about 30 years ago or so. Mr. Henderson moved back into the home to take care of his aging mother before she went to see the Lord.
“Its filled with so many great memories but, has got to be to much for me to handle at my age.” – Mr. Henderson
For eleven (yes 11!) years, Mr. Henderson lived without working indoor plumbing. His daily routine consisted of turning his water on at the meter then quickly filling two 5-gallon buckets, and bringing the water indoors to boil so he could sponge bathe, cook, and flush his toilets. The roof of his home was severely damaged. It leaked badly during any rain which led to major rotting in the roof rafters, walls, flooring, and floor joists. The infrastructure of Mr. Henderson’s home was greatly compromised. Parts of the house were unusable, floors were sagging, and the walls and ceilings were crumbling. Omar and Allen knew they had to act, and act quickly. We believe that no one should have to live with such hardship every day.
Preparing for the Renovation Project
After that initial meeting, Allen and Omar set up a crew of volunteers to clean back the overgrown brush and install temporary tarps on the roof until the work could begin. Allen was tasked with assessing the damage, creating a new floor plan to update the layout, and making mechanical plans. He created a work schedule for the week and a materials list for Pastor Omar to use in guiding his volunteers.
Let the Work Begin…
When the work week began, Allen and I were on site that morning to direct the crews with the help of Pastor Omar. When Allen returned that afternoon to assess the progress of the crew’s demo work for the day, he realized that Pastor Omar had bitten off a little more than he could chew for a 1 week deadline. Though the crews were highly skilled in most areas, the condition of the home was beyond what your typical volunteer crews could handle in a timely manner. Allen and I took the rest of the week off, strapped on our tool belts, and put our skills to work.
Work began on rebuilding the structural parts of the home that had been compromised by the years of roof leaks. With many helpful volunteers eager to work and learn, they made good progress the first day of rebuilding the floor system and part of the roof.
Working Together to Build a Better Home for Mr. Henderson
As the Project manager for Gryphon Builders, one of my daily duties along with the technical aspects of the remodel, was to set up the right tools needed for the project. Every day I set up and broke down the supplied tools and equipment. I’ve been working for Gryphon Builders for a year, and working on Mr. Henderson’s home was a great teaching experience and opportunity to learn on such a complicated project–rebuilding a home from the inside out.
The roof was a major concern. It contained rotten rafters, valleys and old pine board decking. Allen and I worked together and tackled that on the second day. Allen then passed the baton to me–I was tasked to lead the crew to repair the rest roof and prepare for the new roof shingles. Big shout out to Covered Roofing for providing the labor to shingle the repaired roof!
Allen recently reflected that, “it was amazing how everyone worked in unison. The crews of volunteers worked where they could. As we would finish a structural repair, the crews would follow behind and start putting the home back together. “
The Type of Work Involved
All the volunteers, plumbers, and electricians worked hard to bring the home up to quality living standards. The sagging parts of the house were raised, and the crumbling plaster was replaced. A new kitchen and a new bathroom were installed, giving Mr. Henderson the convenience of running water. Upon completion he was able to take his first real shower in eleven years and flush his toilet without the aid of a 5-gallon bucket of water!
Countless volunteers helped make this project a success within just one week. Volunteers asked the local community for donations to furnish Mr. Henderson’s home and to finish off his kitchen and bathroom. Other volunteers cooked for the labor crews. It was truly a community effort that gives new meaning to the phrase, “it takes a village.” It took many members of the local community to pitch in and donate their time, their expertise, their manual labor, and anything else they had to offer.
The Finished Project
The project was completed in just one week. Mr. Henderson’s home was completely revamped. From the new kitchen to the bathroom with working indoor plumbing to replacing the roof, the house was brought up to quality living standards. In the end, it wasn’t just about fixing a house. Helping Mr. Henderson helped build a better quality of life for him and the community. Volunteering together brought members of the local community closer by working to achieve a common goal–helping a fellow man in need. What an honor it was to be apart of such an amazing story in Brookshire, Texas. Please keep checking back as we tackle other community projects in the future!
To make a donation to help the mission work of Kingsland Baptist Church:
Memo Line = Missions / Henderson Home
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