Giving Back: Minnesota Plumbing Company’s Charitable Project Completes a Sixth Year

T ‘N G Plumbing’s annual Pay It Forward project produces another life-changing home renovation

Giving Back: Minnesota Plumbing Company’s Charitable Project Completes a Sixth Year

Making the bathroom more useable for this year's Pay It Forward recipient, who suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis, was a top goal. (Photos from T 'N G Plumbing)

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It’s become a rite of spring in Mower County, Minnesota — T ‘N G Plumbing’s Pay It Forward project.

The company leads a week-long volunteer effort that produces tens of thousands of dollars worth of donated time and materials. At the end of that week, the project’s selected recipient has a completely renovated bathroom and oftentimes many other home improvement flourishes.

T ‘N G Plumbing recently undertook its sixth Pay It Forward project. The company collects nominations early in the year and selects the homeowner most in need of its services. This year, out of 78 nominations, that person was Karen Zech, who suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis, making her bathroom in her small home not well suited for her needs.

The old bathroom was completely gutted in order to complete this year's project.
The old bathroom was completely gutted in order to complete this year's project.

“Karen has said one of the hardest and most emotional parts of living with her physical limitations is when she has to give up her daily shower because she knows she will not be able to climb in the tub, clean herself and get back out again,” Zech’s friend Kris Graff wrote in the nomination letter to T ‘N G Plumbing. “She has already accepted that soaking in a warm tub is no longer a possibility for her. To have to make a choice as to whether she can handle the danger of trying to shower is demeaning, and with your help, unnecessary.

“What makes Karen so special and so deserving of this award is not her numerous debilitating adversities, but her incredible attitude toward her severe limitations. She constantly amazes me with the clever innovative ways she comes up with to continue to live her life as best she is able.”

The finished bathroom.
The finished bathroom.

Over the course of a week at the end of March, T ‘N G Plumbing and its partners put more than $60,000 worth of donated time and materials into Zech’s home. In addition to a bathroom renovation, other improvements included a complete repiping of the home, new water heater, new furnace, new carpeting and flooring, new kitchen countertops, new furniture, and a new stackable washer and dryer.

“Karen’s nomination was beautifully written,” Gina Grundmeier, who owns T ‘N G Plumbing with husband Todd, told the Austin Daily Herald. “Everybody that we talked to has talked about what a kind and compassionate person she was, and how much she has done for everyone else and looks out for them. We just decided it’s time we look out for Karen.”

Sources: Austin Daily HeraldKAAL-TV

Karen Zech returns to her newly renovated home.
Karen Zech returns to her newly renovated home.

Check out these other stories showcasing T ‘N G Plumbing’s previous Pay It Forward projects:

It Takes a Village: 20 Companies Come Together for Fifth Year of Plumbing Firm’s Charitable Renovation Project

Plumbing Company’s Charitable Project Grows in Fourth Year

Minnesota Plumbing Company Pays It Forward — One Bathroom at a Time

Minnesota Plumbing Company Helps Rebuild Lives

Minnesota Plumbing Company Reaches Out



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