It was August 1, 2012. That was the day my wife Kim and I were supposed to move back into our house. The place was our pride and joy — 4,500 square-feet of home sweet home on a golf course in a gated community in Waco, Texas. We moved out temporarily in 2008 when I took a job in Minnesota. August 1, 2012, was supposed to be our wonderful homecoming. 

At least that was the deadline we had given our renter. I was still back in Minnesota, but I planned to commute the rest of the year. Kim, meanwhile, had returned to Texas and was living in a duplex until our house was vacant again. 

Then on August 1, my mom called Kim to tell her that it looked like our renter was having a garage sale at our house. Kim thought that was odd. Nobody had a garage sale in a gated community that the public couldn’t access. And nobody had a garage sale on a weekday. More importantly, why was anybody at the house on August 1? Our home was officially supposed to be empty and ready for us.

Kim drove over there to find a woman sweeping waves of water out of our front door and onto the front steps with a broom. Another woman was in the garage fanning herself from the triple-digit Texas heat. Kim ran up to the ladies and asked them where our renter was. “Oh, he’s in Bora Bora on his honeymoon.” They informed her that he had just gotten married and someone must have left a faucet running in the house. After the wedding, nobody had been there all weekend. Now the entire first floor had completely flooded.

Our home and our happiness were drowning in an instant.

Kim could hardly hold back the tears. She immediately called me, and I boarded the first plane back to Texas. When I got to our house, it was a total disaster. We called our insurance company and they lined up a restoration service immediately. We had more than $30,000 in damages. I found myself in a brand new and incredibly uncomfortable situation. One of my single biggest possessions, my home, looked like a nightmare. The expertise to fix this dilemma was nothing I knew about or could even begin to address alone. The situation called for experts in an emergency, and for the first time in my adult life I was about to find out why people have home insurance for claims this wet and ugly! 

Kim and I had already made plans for a business trip to the U.K. Luckily, we had amazing friends (also interior decorators) who told us to give them our keys and keep our reservations. They promised to watch over the cleanup and get our house back to normal. I couldn’t even picture what normal looked like as everything on the first floor was in water. I’ve never felt so vulnerable. I was convinced our home would never be the same. And I was right.

When we returned…it was even better.

Restoration professionals fixed our home…and our lives.

The restoration company did an incredible job. It was worth every penny from our insurance company. Our home was like new. Plus, with the decorating services of our friends, we came to love the place even more than we did before. It was a total transformation in an amazing amount of time. We went from heartbroken to happily ever after in a matter of days. I was convinced that the restoration experts didn’t just save our home. They saved our lives. They were first responders who tackled an incredibly dirty job in record time. And we were made whole again from the experience.

That restoration job is one reason I am so honored to serve as the CEO of Restoration 1 today. I have an incredible appreciation for the work our franchisees and their service technicians do for customers across the country every day. I know first-hand what it’s like to journey through that kind of disaster. And I have seen the heroes out there who come to the rescue.

I wouldn’t wish this kind of personal trauma on anyone. I also know it happens to too many people on a daily basis. That’s all the more reason to love what we do across our rapidly-growing Restoration 1 franchise network. There is nothing as satisfying as overseeing a business that literally saves the day for customers, guarantees the work and restores much more than property. We are restoring harmony and peace of mind with each and every job that comes our way. 

If anyone ever doubts the significance of the restoration industry or the respect that our profession deserves, give me a few minutes to share what my life was like on August 1, 2012 to put things in perspective. Those memories can come flooding back in no time to explain what an incredible job licensed and trained professionals undertake. And they remind me why this is one of the greatest companies I’ve ever had a hand in growing.