Extending a helping hand; For fourth year, T ‘N G will Pay It Forward

Published 10:23 am Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Terra Gorman of Austin was ready to remodel her home’s modest bathroom when her oldest son, Jaxon, fell ill.

What the single mother of three could not have anticipated, however, the depth of his illness. Jaxon, 9, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma. The remodeling took a distant back seat to her focus on getting Jaxon well.

When Gorman’s family was nominated for the annual Pay It Forward bathroom remodel, spearheaded by T ‘N G Plumbing of rural Dexter, there wasn’t a doubt in Gina Grundmeier’s mind — Gina is the “G” in T ‘N G — that this was the family that should receive this year’s remodel.

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“Each year, there is one that floats to the top, and this year, they were it,” said Grundmeier, who with her husband, Todd, have led similar remodels for those needing a bit of help. They established a 501c3 non-profit organization to handle the financing of the remodels, which is done through donations and in-kind labor.

In Gorman’s case, grab bars and other accommodations in the family’s bathroom are needed to help Jaxon, who just finished chemotherapy and proton beam therapy. Terra said Jaxon was diagnosed Feb. 19, 2016, just after she purchased her house. Treatments have affected Jaxon’s mobility, and he is undergoing physical therapy to strengthen his legs. He is in a wheelchair right now, she added.

Her selection for the T ‘N G remodel was “a huge surprise,” she said, after she learned of it while listening to KAUS-AM radio on Monday.

Todd Grundmeier, left, and Dennis Oquist hook a new water softener during the second Pay It Forward. Herald file photo

Todd Grundmeier, left, and Dennis Oquist hook a new water softener during the second Pay It Forward. Herald file photo

Her mother had told her to tune in at a certain time, since the radio station was airing a story about Jaxon; Terra assumed it had something to do with the “Paint the Town Pink” campaign. To Terra’s surprise, she learned about her nomination — which came from both friends and family.

“I have an amazing circle of friends and coworkers, and family,” she said.

Gorman, who is studying to be a teacher and is currently student teaching at Woodson Kindergarten Center, said her children, which also includes Griffon, 7, and Madalynn, 5, are “super excited” about the remodel — and being able to stay in a hotel for a week, during the work.

Although she and her family have had a tough year, “we get up, put a smile on our face and are thankful for everything.”

“On this cancer journey, we have met amazing, wonderful people,” she said, and Jaxon, “my hero,” has taught her as much as anyone about persevering.

“Even when he was so ill from chemotherapy, he always, always had a smile on his face,” she said. “So we keep smiling.”

The Grundmeier’s have been “paying it forward” for four years, remodeling bathrooms for those who cannot afford the work. The Grundmeier’s always invite other contractors to help and, invariably, help and donations come forward to the cause. This year, said Grundmeier, “I probably have 30 different contractors” willing to help out. Plans are to start the project in mid-March.

If anyone would like to donate to the remodel, they may do so by contacting the Grundmeier’s at 507-584-1237, or via email at: payitforward@tngplumbing.com