Memoirs of a Builder: Stucco and Cancer
Sometimes as a builder, you get the privilege of being an integral part of some key moments in the lives of your associates. These moments can lead to unforgettable memories that are branded on your heart.
I remember one such occasion with Marco*, my stucco guy. He was a hard worker, had a kind heart, and was the type of guy that would do anything to help others. We worked together for years, and developed a strong relationship. We ate tacos with his employees every Friday from a microwave on the job site, and worked through the night for weeks on a Parade of Homes that had hard deadlines. We became great friends.
One day, while walking through a home with an owner, I saw Marco pacing outside. I could tell he needed to speak to me urgently.
When the meeting finally ended with the homeowners, Marco sheepishly walked up to me.
“Mike,” he started. “I have stage 4 cancer.”
I was dumbfounded. Shocked. Heartbroken. I could see the pain in his face. We sat together for a while, shed some tears, and by the end of our conversation, we both felt resolute that he would be ok.
“We’ll work through this,” we decided.
It was a rough year for him, his family, and his business. We stayed close, worked through business challenges, and maintained our friendship. After more than a year of fighting, I’m so grateful to say he was a survivor, and we still stay in touch to this day. It’s amazing what can happen on a job site. You make lifelong friends. Sure, sometimes you have a good yelling match, or get frustrated, but you grow close to your team.
*Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the people involved. Written by Mike Lacey, CoFounder & CEO of CoFi. Mike worked as a builder for 10 years in the Utah area. To share stories of your experience as a builder/contractor, email firstname.lastname@example.org.