Straub Week of Giving

Straub Week of Giving 2015We always knew the Straub extended family was a generous group, but we had no idea just how much until last week when we kicked off our first annual Straub Week of Giving. Employees, spouses, kids and many subcontractors participated in four different events, all reaching different areas of our community.

Tuesday evening, Straub continued a long-standing relationship with St. James Place and Bishop Sullivan Community Center by serving 320 meals to those in need. Straub employees also provided homemade desserts. It’s always a humble experience to help those less fortunate and a great reminder it’s better to give than receive.  We are excited to continue our support of this great organization and its mission of helping others.

Straub Week of Giving 2015Wednesday evening, Straub provided and served a meal for families that have kids receiving care at Children’s Mercy Hospital in their Ronald McDonald Family room. Four of our families have had very recent experiences there with our kids and all of us are grateful to have such an outstanding facility in our community. The doctors and nurses there do an outstanding job for so many families going through some very difficult times.

All week at our job sites and at our office locations, we had a friendly competition to see who could collect the most food for the Salvation Army food pantry. Barrels were placed at strategic locations and brought back to the office at the end of the week. Thru our collective efforts, 2,200 items of food were collected!

Straub Week of Giving 2015Saturday morning was a special day as over 60 members of the Straub Family gathered at Shawnee Community Services to put together and distribute 300 Thanksgiving boxes for families in need. It was fun to work alongside so many of our kids and help them realize how blessed we all are. Straub has a long standing relationship with Shawnee Community Services which included building their current facility. We dedicate our efforts to Evelyn VanKemseke, who founded Shawnee Community Services over 33 years ago and passed away last Wednesday at age 87. Her example of selfless service to those in need is one we should all remember.

Ernie and Parker have always been great examples of living a generous life. It was wonderful to see that service reflected in the lives and families of those that are privileged to work at Straub Construction and experience how that can have such a broad impact on our community.

Straub Week of Giving 2015 Straub Week of Giving 2015 Straub Week of Giving 2015

Celebrating Autumn and the Royals

I’m not sure what it is about fall, but this is the time of year that those who love the “four seasons” seem to cherish the most. It’s the time of year that you have Friday night lights, college football, the American Royal BBQ, youth sports and lots of family time.

What does a contractor think during this time of year?

We’re thinking about winter; getting footings in the ground, asphalt down, and enclosing our buildings.

At the University of St Mary, in Leavenworth we’re pushing hard to provide a quality Homecoming experience at their new athletic field! The University is in the midst of expanding their facilities and want to show it off during construction.

Celebrating Autumn

Autumn has been even more special this year.

Celebrating AutumnThe temperatures have remained pleasant but still remind us that winter is around the corner. All of the typical activities of fall provide an experience for all of the senses. From the smells, to the chill in the air, to the vibrant colors… these all contribute to loving this time of year.

I think everyone in the city will agree that the Royals have added that extra touch of fun and excitement. It’s been amazing to see how much this city loves this team.

Personally, I’ve spent many Saturdays at cross country courses and soccer fields taking in all to be had. Throw in trips to St. Louis and Branson and it’s been a full schedule! But I’ve loved every minute of it. I can’t imagine living somewhere that you don’t get to experience all that fall has to offer. I hope you’re enjoying it as well!

Meeting the Pope with 100,000 of my closest friends.

Ernie and Susan in WashingtonIn September, Congressman Yoder extended an invitation for Susan and I to hear Pope Francis address the joint session of Congress.  At first, we had good reasons not to go because we’re adjusting from caring for our children to caring for Susan’s dad. We thought about it for several days and both Susan and I felt a strong calling to make the trip to Washington for the Address. We’re really glad that we did.

From the time we left Kansas City to the time we got back, the trip was special.  We reconnected with at least twenty friends and colleagues. We were helped by a complete stranger. Our experiences made this trip one to remember.

Our hotel room was directly across the highway from the wing of the Pentagon that was struck in the 9/11 terrorist attack.  Every time we looked out the window, we remembered 9/11 and the sight of the attack that day. It really struck home when we met a service member on the elevator at our hotel. He had just come back from a memorial service at the Pentagon recognizing a friend that he had lost in the 9/11 attack. That chance meeting made an unforgettable awareness of the pain so many people deal with every day related to 9/11.

The PopeWe got going early on Thursday and made it to the Capitol by 5:30am hoping to get a good view of the Pope.  We picked a spot on the lawn and watched as the crowd grew. You could feel the excitement and peace of the tens of thousands that where there as the sun came up over the Capital dome.

The Pope’s arrival really affected the crowd. There was a sense of reverence as he addressed Congress and the American people. He spoke on many issues (you can read the transcript here.)  We came away with his message of caring for each other and the importance of the dignity of all human life.

We met our guardian angel on our way out of the Capitol grounds. A woman walking next to us told every service member “Thank you for your service to our Country.” We needed help with directions for getting back to our hotel. It turned out that she was going to the same subway stop we were.  We discovered she was a retired career service member. She had a calling that morning to go to the speech. If it weren’t for her help, Susan and I might have missed our flight home.  Thank you to our guardian angel!

Take Away – What a great country and world it would be if we were all Christ-like and got up every day with the mission to serve and help each other.  That’s a daunting thought and a task that seems so out of reach in the world we live in today. There’s only one person we have control over… ourselves.  We choose each day, am I going to be Christ-like and serve others?  Let’s start there!