Volunteering: Family Man Turned Handyman

When Christ Church Episcopal chose to kick off their Bicentennial year of service with a Rebuild Upstate build day, the Brockman family jumped on board. Tim Brockman serves on the church outreach committee, is a foster father to many, and is passionate about fighting injustice in any form. It was a natural fit. 

The Brockmans, along with dozens of other Christ Church Episcopal members, were matched with elderly and fiercely independent homeowner Ms. K (you can read her story here)

Ms. K’s unusual tiered deck was unstable. To make her home safe again, volunteers were tasked with demolition, installing new decking, and installing grab bars.

Tim is self-described as the “least handy man ever.” Many of his teammates (including his kids) were also volunteering outside of their comfort zone. How, then, was this multigenerational team confident they could serve Ms. K?

The week before their build day, Christ Church Episcopal hosted a Rebuild Upstate Volunteer Orientation during their Wednesday night supper. The Rebuild team shared on-site safety tips and introduced volunteers to homeowners and build day projects, like repairing Ms. K’s deck.

Christ Church Episcopal volunteers showed up on Saturday ready to roll. Tim volunteered with a few of his children, hoping the build day would be an opportunity for his kids to build community with other members of Christ Church Episcopal. All they needed were practical clothes, closed-toe shoes, and the willingness to serve. Tools and materials were ready-to-go on-site, and volunteer Site Leaders lead them each step of the way. 

“The gentlemen and woman [leading the build] were super relaxed. It was important that we do it right, but they were very good at instructing and taking the time. There was just no feeling of inadequacy or, ‘You don’t know what you’re doing.’ It was very comfortable.”

But Tim’s favorite part about the build day wasn’t a sense of accomplishment or even the chance to complete a project in a day. It was meeting the homeowner, Ms. K. Their time together reminded him of an important lesson: our worth isn’t tied to what we earn or what we own. 

Always thinking of others, Tim thanked Ms. K for opening her home. She was so grateful. Ms. K. had tears in her eyes when she told Tim she doesn’t need to feel embarrassed when people come over to her house anymore. For Tim, 

“That is what drives the whole thing and makes it worthwhile.”