April 2010: For The Record


For The Record

I am writing this editor’s letter on my laptop from a small “hospitel” room at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany, Ga. My mother, sister and I are bunked in this dark, but cozy, guest suite with two twin beds and a rollaway – sort of a hotel within the hospital – while my father begins his recovery from open-heart surgery. My father has always been a strong, healthy man. To me, he has always seemed invincible. But he had a murmur that motivated his doctor to take a close look at his heart in December. Yesterday, he received a new aortic valve, and a few inches of his aorta were replaced.

“Afraid” doesn’t even scratch the surface of how our family and friends felt yesterday as my dad underwent several hours of an extremely invasive surgery. And “relief” hardly explains how I feel today. My dad’s heart has been restored. He has a lot of years left in this world, and a lot left to do – grandchildren to hoist into the air, hugs to give, hunting trips to take, rides on his Harley. This is the value of restoration.

The next time you look at a building that isn’t as young as it used to be, remember the value of restoration. As amazing as current strides and advances in technology and construction are, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to replace the history and character of more mature buildings, schools, houses of worship, and other various masonry structures. Rehab and restoration are vital functions of our industry, because we save the lives of opulent structures all over the world and keep the integrity of communities intact. Restoration projects also create new opportunities for masons who may be struggling in such a harsh economy. Diversification of your skills and talents can be the key to survival.

Rehabbing and restoring are ways of keeping history alive. And, as I’ve learned, it works for people, too. We get to keep my dad.

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