Dexter family survives fire, moves on with new business

Published 7:50 am Thursday, March 3, 2011

Todd and Gina Grundmeier have just started their own plumbing business Ñ less than months after their entire house was destroyed in a fire. - Matt Peterson/

When a family from Dexter escaped from their burning house last November, they lost nearly everything. The house was a total loss, along with every possession in it. But there was one thing they didn’t lose: hope.

“The hope of something happening and the dream of something happening, you have to have that first,” said Gina Grundmeier, the mother of the family that lost the home.

It would have been easy to think the world was against them. Twelve days after the fire, their 16-year-old daughter had a silent seizure while driving and rolled her car. She was knocked unconscious for an undetermined amount of time, but came to and was able to call for help. Although she wasn’t critically injured, the incident required stitches to her head and face.

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And because it’s believed that bad things happen in three, people were asking the Grundmeiers what’s next.

But two catastrophes were enough for the family.

“We don’t need that,” Gina said about a potential third incident.

Instead, the family has decided to move forward and continue taking risks.

“We have the same chance as anybody else,” Gina’s husband, Todd, said about suffering their losses.

Now, nearly four months after the fire, Todd and Gina have started their own plumbing business — something that has been their dream for almost three years.

“I guess we thought better now than never,” Gina said.

Although the Grundmeier’s still live in a temporary home, they’re comfortable with the risks of a new business venture. Todd has been plumbing for 17 years, and he and Gina are confident in the quality of his work.

“I know his work,” Gina said. “I’ve heard the way people talk about him. You don’t work in one area for 17 years and not have people know who you are.”

The Grundmeier’s beliefs have also helped keep them strong through the tough times. They have strong faith and believe everything happens for a reason.

Their family could be living in a new home right now; however, they waited and someone else bought the house they had considered moving onto their property. That house, which Riverland carpenter students had built, seemed like the perfect opportunity for them. When the deal fell through, they kept thinking of their old home.

“It’s tough all the time,” Gina said. “We miss our home.”

The Grundmeiers sent in to the Extreme Home Makeover television show in hopes of a fresh start. Whether they succeed or not, they know something good is in store.

For now, the business is a way for them to get their minds off the past and move into the future.

“We can be negative, or we can learn to drive forward,” Todd said. He added that it would be easy for anybody in their position to lie down and give up. “The easy road is not always the right road.”

Having kids is a major reason the Grundmeiers are persevering and taking risks. They want to set a good example because tragedies could happen to anyone.

“You’ve got to keep going,” Gina said. “We’ve worked hard for everything we have.”

Todd realizes hard work is necessary, and hardships are something everybody goes through. So he and Gina want to add a few extras to their business to help those out who need it.

They plan to offer a senior discount, military discount and do a referral program. They also want to offer one hour of free service to Semcac qualified customers who need simple repairs on things like leaky faucets or clogged drains.

“There’s a lot of people out there who need help,” Gina said.

Business may be picking up for them soon, as they just finished the graphics on their company van and started a website:

Because homes are treasured possessions to most people, the Grundmeiers will be happy to help others and treat their homes with respect.

“I treat everyone’s home with the respect I treat my Grandma,” Todd said.

For more information on the business, contact 1-507-584-1237