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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Owners Corner: 1st Quarter Newsletter Excerpt

1/12/2021 (Permalink)

No one can argue that 2020 was a challenging year. Just take a look at the Wikipedia page dedicated to 2020 (it even itemizes events by month and day). You could also peruse your favorite social media platform and, within a matter of seconds, find a video, meme, a “vent” from a friend, or an advertisement that leaves you wondering, “will we ever find a light at the end of the tunnel that is 2020?”.

We could even see this sentiment reflected in our family and friends’ holiday cards. It seemed as though everyone referenced the events and feelings of this year, whether it be through amusing candid photos, “year in review” notes, or catchy taglines. That is, until January 2nd, 2021, when I received and opened the final card of the season, which sparked an intense feeling of gratitude.

On the back of the card, I found words that caught me by surprise and inspired me to alter my viewpoint as I began to lumber into the new year:

“And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

 ~Excerpt from Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

I am committed to savoring the good lessons that emerged from the obstacles of 2020. Particularly, for Jim and I, we want to savor those that impacted the most important parts of our world:

  1. Family: Every day, our kids are growing. This year, we had the opportunity to spend more time together and revel in each moment instead of driving separate cars to make it to whichever sporting event was next on the roster. We were able to eat our dinner at the SAME table, at the SAME time. At the table, we had meaningful discussions with our kids, watching their personalities grow right before our eyes. Some of that growth stretched beyond their personalities as well. We watched, without the distractions presented by the everyday chaos with which we had previously become acquainted, our 12-year-old tack on an additional 6 inches to his height this year. The ability to be present in the moment, void of distractions, was one of the most incredible blessings to come out of 2020 and it’s one that we want to carry with us for years to come.
  2. SERVPRO: While the lesson of humility is continuous, 2020 brought it to the forefront of our minds. Regardless of our efforts to plan and attempt to get things under control as best we can, there will always be some situations that we just can’t control:
  • 1St Quarter 2020: In October of 2019, our business underwent a significant expansion geographically, which was followed by the warmest winter to be recorded in the last 125 years. Our business halted and sweat began to drip off our brows as unsettling discussions of layoffs commenced. This unforeseen circumstance was nothing short of a punch to the gut. At the same time, however, it served as a reminder that instead of the rest of the world revolving around our plans, it is us who must revolve our plans around the rest of the world. It was the earliest use of the word “pivot”, something that would be applied many, many more times in 2020.
  • 2nd Quarter 2020: COVID-19, lockdowns, uncertainty, fear. I don’t think I need to tell you what went down in 2nd Quarter. Almost overnight, both our business as a whole and our employees were deemed “essential”. In order to help “flatten the curve”, our primary services changed from restoration to viral pathogen cleaning. Aspiring to give our communities some much-needed peace of mind, we did everything in our power to keep businesses open and decelerate the economic consequences of lengthy shutdowns. As entrepreneurs, we’ll never forget this period of time. We certainly felt the fear that arose from the profound uncertainty, but we were filled with pride as we watched our team band together, acclimate to the unfamiliar situation, and display our synergy in order to fulfill our tagline, “Here to Help”.
  • 3rd Quarter 2020: It all began with the English alphabet and came to a close with the Greek alphabet. The 2020 hurricane season broke records left and right. Our Storm Response teams traveled across the country, from Philadelphia to Florida, in response to Hurricanes Isaias, Laura, and Sally. One project that particularly stood out is summarized in our most recent “Job of the Quarter”. This project emphasized far more than our team’s capabilities, as it also illustrated the beneficial outcomes that result from our SERVPRO franchise system’s “One Team” mindset. Just the same as 2nd Quarter, we learned another lesson in humility, reflected in the proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
  • 4th Quarter 2020: Here you come again, just when I'm about to get myself together”. The lyrics of Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again” resounded in my mind. The contrast in temperature between the winter of 2019 and that of 2020 was drastic. This winter has been incredibly cold and largely unhelpful in the process of curbing COVID-19. Cases skyrocketed toward the end of October, sending our team back into an overwhelming amount of COVID-19 cleanings. In fact, we completed 400 COVID-19 related cleanings this quarter and then some. To reflect the resurgence of the virus, our focus shifted back to being there for our communities. Knowing that we didn’t have to head out into uncharted territory, as we did in the spring, took some of the weight off of our shoulders. With experience and practice, our team was able to polish the process and improve the quality of our services.

Looking back on the difficult challenges posed by 2020, it’s apparent that those challenges were the catalyst of many good things. I encourage you to acknowledge and honor the good that came out of the past year. Life is short and it shouldn’t be wasted by wallowing in the disappointing aspects.

“…it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.” These words, the last sentences I read in 2020, were unbelievably fitting. This year, I’m taking those words and tucking them into my back pocket to carry them with me into the new year. I hope you’ll do the same.

Wishing that you remain well and happy,

Trish and Jim Wall

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