Contractor Inspired by Fellow Plumber to Launch Charity Project

Chris and Emily Kreutzer took notice of how another company had utilized its plumbing skills to give back to its community and decided to do the same in their home of Carrboro, North Carolina

Contractor Inspired by Fellow Plumber to Launch Charity Project

Emily and Chris Kreutzer, owners of Carrboro Plumbing

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Emily Kreutzer was inspired when she read an article in Plumber about a pay-it-forward program created by T ‘N G Plumbing in Dexter, Minnesota. So she called Habitat for Humanity of Orange County NC to find out if Carrboro Plumbing — the company she co-owns with her husband, Chris, in Carrboro, North Carolina — could do something similar.

Turns out they could. Habitat officials told her about three elderly siblings who lived in a house with no water or sewer service. As a result, they used an outhouse and got potable water from an outdoor spigot that would often freeze up in winter.

“In an area where so many people have so much, it’s hard to imagine that people go without such basic necessities,” Kreutzer says. “I couldn’t imagine my grandparents having to walk through snow to go to an outhouse.”

So on a Saturday in January 2018, all 12 Carrboro Plumbing employees converged on the home. While plumbers laid out and connected a sewer line, roughed in plumbing for the kitchen and a bathroom, and installed fixtures and a water heater, the remaining employees did some exterior painting and yard work.

“It was a great day because our whole team was there together, which seldom happens,” Kreutzer says. “And we did it all in one day. It’s amazing what 12 people can accomplish in a day.”

A few months later, Kreutzer posted on the company’s Facebook page a “wish list” on Amazon — similar to a wedding registry — for items the three siblings needed, such as towels, towel hooks, mirrors, shower curtains and so forth.

“All the items were purchased,” she says. “So we went back in March and finished the job. It was another great day — lots of happy tears. They were very grateful.”

In all, Kreutzer estimates the company donated about $10,000 worth of materials and labor. But the return on the investment was priceless, she says.

The company planned to do another project in 2019, but it got delayed to early 2020 — and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. But as soon as it’s possible, the company plans on partnering with Habitat for Humanity on a similar project.

The company supports many other local and national charities, including Make a Wish Eastern North Carolina, Christmas House, Friends of Orange County DSS (Department of Social Services), American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and Doctors Without Borders. But this project was particularly special.

“It was so gratifying to make a difference,” Kreutzer says. “It’s so important to give back. We’ve grown in this community because of people and in return, we want to help those who support us. And it’s great having a skill that you know you can use to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s just the right thing to do.” 

Read more about Carrboro Plumbing in the January 2021 issue of Plumber magazine.


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