‘You are loved’

Published 7:53 pm Friday, March 12, 2021

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Pay It Forward reveal introduces family to better life


There were very few words when Kris and Tim Burkey saw the inside of their newly remodeled home for the first time.

But there were plenty of emotions and it was clear how the family felt.

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“It’s like … I’m speechless,” Kris said. “It’s beautiful and it makes life so much easier.”

The Burkeys were this year’s recipients of the Pay it Forward project, spearheaded by T ‘NG Plumbing and supported by a host of other businesses who contribute labor and products to the cause. Friday night was the big reveal.

In February of 2020, Tim was diagnosed with ALS and it has since progressed to the point where everyday chores are challenging.

Now, with the changes made to the home, Tim can once again meet some of those challenges.

“I think it’s good,” he said. “It’s good. Excellent. Since we’ve been at the hotel, with the bars in the rooms, I feel more stability and hopefully we can do that here.”

Those bars, designed to help those who are handicapped, were just part of the work done on the bathroom, which also included new cabinets, sink and a toilet with an automatic lid, again designed to make life easier for Tim.

But as in previous years, work never stays to just the bathroom, even though that was the initial idea when Pay it Forward began just under 10 years ago.

The entire living room and kitchen were remodeled and work in the basement included a new furnace among other things.

There was a new air to the house that now had everything Tim and his family would need to meet the future.

“When we are done, we want to make everything simply easier for you and lift off your burdens when we can,” said Gina Grundmeier of T ‘NG to Kris and Tim after the reveal had been made. “Know you are loved.”

Kris’ sister, Lori Martin, was the one that wrote the nomination letter for Kris and Tim back in January and even though she was in on the secret work being done during this past week, the end result was still something much more than she expected.

“The big thing was to make it easier for Tim, first of all,” Martin said. “And then two, Krissy is his primary caregiver and it has to be easier for her too. Anything I can do to make their life easier.”

Martin said there was plenty of stress from the time spent writing the essay to the reveal itself, as well as the emotions, especially on the day she found out Kris and Tim had been picked.

“I balled,” she confessed with a smile.

This is the eighth year of Pay It Forward and Grundmeier remains no less amazed by the people who contribute their time to the project to ensure it’s done in a week.

“There’s always hiccups, that’s how things work,” she said. “But everybody was on it. There’s always someone that steps up and takes care of it.”

It’s work that the family recognizes as well, and it leaves an impression knowing that so many care enough to put in this kind of work.

“It’s absolutely amazing that so many people are willing to take the time out of their week and their jobs to help people they don’t even know,” Kris said.

And when the work is done, it’s the reactions, like the Burkeys Friday night, that make it all worthwhile.

“We’re so blessed,” Grundmeier said. “We can’t take anything for granted.”