2011 Annual Report
Every morning when we unlock the office door, we know it is contingent on the next job, the next customer, the next project. We daily walk in the mercies of our Father, undeserving to still be in business in this economy, broken-hearted for our vendors who have had to close their doors, and overwhelmingly grateful that God would allow us to continue forward.
We exist to share God’s love and the hope of the Gospel through the avenue of residential and commercial construction. We believe God has called us to serve, not just our customers, but our community and the world. As we have followed His unorthodox path, He has led us to share our office space with Grace Klein Community, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. We receive any type donations and match the items to the needs in our community and around the world. From gathering discarded clothing from the Mercedes Marathon to setting up apartments with necessities, to sharing food with families that need it, to helping support an orphanage in Zambia and anything in-between, God is stretching us to function in what seems chaotic for the glory of His name.
Some fun projects we did in the beginning of the year were outdoor kitchens, a custom pool, patios, decks and other hardscapes. We were also highlighted in the September 2011 edition of Birmingham Magazine and many of you mentioned seeing us on HGTV’s “Bang for Your Buck.” God has a sense of humor.
In the beginning of April 2011, God gave us an unexpected lesson. At least eight years ago a well-meaning teenager cut our grass and mowed down a beautiful rose bush. It was sad. We prayed God would bring it back to life, but it was dead, gone, demolished. For a few years we would hope for its return, but nothing came. A few weeks before the tornadoes ripped through our city, God brought that rose bush to life. We discovered it, huge and blooming. What was He trying to say to us?? This bush was dead for over eight years, but now it was unmistakably alive. We knew God was teaching us that He can breathe life into something that appears dead and we needed that reminder as our work was drying up and we had to trust God to provide.
On April 26, 2011, we were finishing every job we had. We had no idea what we would do the next day. And then the storm came.
The tornadoes we experienced were like nothing most of us have ever seen. Many lost their homes, some lost their lives or people that they loved. In many ways, it was devastating. But, in more ways, it was a beautiful chance for God’s light to shine. One of the most amazing things about God is how He uses our pain, heartache and destruction for His glory: beauty in the ashes (Isaiah 61). This was one of the most widespread emergencies our area has known and it gave Christ’s followers a huge opportunity to show His love to complete strangers. I would imagine that most, if not all of you helped with tornado relief in some way. It was so beautiful to serve alongside you, watching you go out into the damaged neighborhoods to show love and compassion, just like Jesus would have. There were so many creative ways in which you were His hands and feet – making individual packets for kids and adults that went out all over the state, taking treats and a truckload of kids to bring joy to an overlooked trailer park, listening to peoples’ stories and passing them on to show how great our God is, contributing tons of donations to be distributed, helping clean yards, on and on it goes.
As for the construction business, God breathed new life into it. He gave us more work than we could handle, but somehow equipped us to handle it. It was a miracle, plain and simple. Before the storms, we were consistently out of money, wondering how we were going to pay our staff, wondering why God wanted us to keep going if there was no work. Then, He showed us why He had helped us persevere. It wasn’t just the work He gave us, but endless opportunities to go into people’s homes, or what was left of them, and show them Christ’s love. In the day-to-day construction business, you don’t normally hug customers or pray with them. But, after the storms, these were normal things. Many of the places where we worked were not accessible to volunteers for weeks, so we were often the only ones in contact with people right where they were. Again, many of you helped us with our work and with loving these people, many of you without pay. Beautiful and humbling. A true community.
We had the privilege of seeing our customers helping one another, too. One man donated two cars to people that had lost theirs. Another donated boxes of Kleenex and other supplies that we shared and one of you helped us locate a grapple attachment. We often heard customers say, take care of others first, my family can wait. Unbelievable authentic love is what we saw and experienced.
For 2011, a great joy was hiring more staff to service the needs of our customers. God used the work to provide for many people who had been unemployed for months. We have watched the attitudes of staff be transformed and a deeper team spirit and unity grow, while working long hours, many without one word of complaint. We have seen men work and find value in themselves – that matters! Also, several of our men are growing in their faith in Christ, have attended Discovery Weekends together and are serving families in their own communities. For our team-building day, Rachel Hunt of Extreme Fit, led us in challenging team activities that brought laughter and a small break from our work demands.
For 2011, your business provided for 32 employees, 25 spouses and 48 children, along with 76 subcontractors. We serviced 488 customers, 56 of them repeat customers, with the help of 374 vendors. Praise God that your business helped with the provision of 482+ families. That’s amazing!
We invested in a bobcat trailer and the replacement of two company vehicles after excessive equipment repair costs. We maintained a very close to 100% safety record (one leg cut with tree debris) and currently have three certified Lead-based Paint technicians, a CDL driver and an OSHA certificated employee on staff. We remain a Master Remodeler with the AL Home Builders Association and continue to be licensed in Alabama and Mississippi.
Throughout the year we continued our Home Depot contract work for 11 stores in central Alabama, remodeling many of your kitchens and bathrooms, and providing in-store presentations with our colleagues. We also began a contract rehabilitating foreclosed and distressed properties in the Birmingham area. Our work volume increased with our Travelers contract, as well as consistent referrals from Alfa, Allstate, Farmers, Nationwide, and State Farm agents. Facebook via Grace Klein proved a great form of communication. You can also contact us via www.gracekleinconstruction.com or find us on Twitter at gk_construction. (GK Community Twitter is at gk_community.)
In August, God rented our home in historic Forest Park and we were able to return to our home in Hoover. A huge thank you to the almost 100 people who helped us move in the midst of a heavy workload. We felt so loved and again humbled by your generosity. Due to unexpected delays, we also had five tarps on our roof for several months and a bucket catching water in the closet. It is a temporary annoyance that does not seem temporary in the moment. God has taught us to thank Him for all things and that can be hard. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
When Jesus came, He came to bring beauty from the ashes of our sin. The destruction we have seen through the tornadoes reminds us of our brokenness and how He forgives us and restores us and makes us new in Him. Hopefully the storm repairs will be a reminder of the life Jesus came to give. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in sin—it is by grace we have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5) GKC exists not only to help rebuild and renovate your homes, but to walk alongside you and encourage you as we all deal with the brokenness of our own hearts. We are in desperate need of hope in the midst of the pain of this world. And God is teaching us more and more that He must be enough.
We love you and thank you for joining us on our journey. We appreciate your business, your friendship, your encouragement, your criticism, your repeat business, your referrals, your unbelievable faith, your courage, your hope and your kindness. You are the reason we opened the front door this morning.
Working with all our hearts,
Jason and Jenny Waltman
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