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Dan Ewing’s (aka Bender) signature line has held me silent for the last few days. “How fortunate we are”. I have been haunted by the simple truth in that sentence. It’s taken me days to churn through the depth of that statement. Its application is as true to me as it is to him.

My name is Thomas Rodgers and I am the owner and operator of A Brush Above in College Station, Texas. I am a midsized paint and commercial drywall company with my particular focus on the painting side. I grew up working trades. First, for my uncles patio deck company in Colorado at 13, and later at 17 working for Brian Farmer, a Master Painter on massive scale homes. This translated into sanding woodwork and masking off lacquered trim. I never touched a brush, roller, or a spray rig for five years.

I got involved in hard drugs at an early age and never completed high school. I eventually left working for Brian and spiraled deeper and deeper into self-destruction. I tried to get on track and joined the Navy and spent 4 years in the Navy- truth being I learned how to work the system and still hadn’t truly grown up. I got married and divorced. I crumbled and imploded inside. I exited the Navy and found nowhere to go but down. I made poor choices after poor choices and suffered the lack of desire to want more.

I hadn’t spoken with my parents in 10 years and while I was sitting in jail at the age of 28, my father drove up from Texas and visited me.

He asked me, “Are you ready to come home yet?”

I was floored. Here I was, face to face with my dad for the first time in more than a decade, looking through a glass.

He asked me to come home. And I did.

I had to learn how to grow up again. I went back to school. No high school diploma but I now have a college degree from Texas A&M. I got married along the way to a good woman. I put myself through school painting for family and friends. I worked Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and took a full load at A&M on Tuesday and Thursdays. I treated school like a job and never imagined continuing painting after college. I hired classmates to get me through tough timelines.

It was my senior year sitting in a class when a teacher asked the class what a living annual wage was. Many high five figure into the six figure salary ranges were produced, and then the professor told us what she made. I went home and did the math and realized I was currently making what the professor made. With our first child on the way, I realized then that I would apply myself to my craft. Upon graduation I would get my Saturdays back.

Painting and contracting has been very good to me. We average most jobs in the five digits, a few in the six and just landed one in the sevens. Been drug free for ten years and now I’m addicted to my family, work and a minor crush on Paint Talk.

I’ve learned a lot from you guys and I’m grateful to look back and see the changes that have occurred throughout my life and glad that there are second chances and redemption. I concur wholeheartedly with Bender when he says “How fortunate we are.”
 

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PinheadsUnite
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Thank you Thomas.

Such an inspiring story, while at the same time being typical of this profession.

:thumbup: :notworthy: :thumbup: :notworthy:
 

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Holy chit! That was fantastic to read! Thanks for sharing, Thomas.

Man, these bios are amazingly written. I am seriously blown away.

Sent from my SM-G900V using PaintTalk.com mobile app
 

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A Brush Above
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Well I'm a tad humbled Thomas:(
I chuckled a bit at the hard drugs (the irony of it to me)
If there was one thing the Fort offered us that was it.

How fortunate we are indeed!
:)
Tell me about it. First drug I ever did was speed. Before I had tried an ounce of alcohol. Fort Collins has a terrifying effect on the weak willed.
 

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Thanks for the up front bio I have blown many a C note on stupid choices.. It's a great feeling to know I am not alone...

Yer definitely not alone when it comes to the poor choices made in the past, but without having been thru tough times, it'd be hard to appreciate all of the blessings that can easily be taken for granted. And the journey, looking back to see how far you've come.


Stelzer Painting Inc.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I hadn't noticed that. Good call. :yes:
Once we have a blog here for me to post announcements etc, the Featured Pros section will be moved over to that. I simply used the forum for now until the section is ready, so all those thanks will be removed anyway (after the move) but it is a nice way in the meantime for the nominees to see the appreciation either way.

Added Note: You can see an example of what I mean here.
http://www.contractortalk.com/members/contractortalk-104355/activity/blogs
 

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Once we have a blog here for me to post announcements etc, the Featured Pros section will be moved over to that. I simply used the forum for now until the section is ready, so all those thanks will be removed anyway (after the move) but it is a nice way in the meantime for the nominees to see the appreciation either way.

Added Note: You can see an example of what I mean here.
http://www.contractortalk.com/members/contractortalk-104355/activity/blogs
No worries Cricket. It's just that some of us here keep track of "thanked" posts. :whistling2:
 
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