In this episode, Brian Beckcom speaks with Ron Peters. Ron is the Executive Director of Katy Responds, a non-profit organization helping families recover and rebuild their homes after the historic flooding during Hurricane Harvey.
Katy Responds was established in 2018 by a group of Katy churches and other local community organizations. Still today, many homes need rebuilding and restorations, especially as the pandemic adds another layer of despair for thousands of families who continue living with Harvey’s devastating aftermath. Though Katy Responds was created due to Hurricane Harvey, they continue to work, design, and prepare for the next storm.
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Brian and Ron discuss:
- The value of teaching our children how to deal with true adversity despite a privileged upbringing
- How catastrophe and tragedy can serve as powerful “wake-up calls” for society
- Seeing the “big picture”
- How true leadership is altruistic in nature
- The reasons why Ron left the corporate world to work for a non-profit organization
- Katy Responds’ mission and the value of helping others
- The “natural state of man” and servant-based leadership
- Maintaining optimism in the face of adversity and the importance of voting
- And other topics
Ron Peters grew up in Michigan before moving to Texas in 1990. He currently resides on the southside of Katy in North Richmond, where he enjoys spending time with his beloved wife, five children, and six grandchildren. Ron is a seasoned builder and contractor who, after much success in the corporate world, is now serving as the Executive Director of Katy Responds, a non-profit organization committed to rebuilding the Katy Community after Hurricane Harvey. To make a donation, volunteer, or learn more about Katy Responds, please visit www.KatyResponds.org and don’t forget to like their Facebook page.
Read the show notes!
Brian Beckcom: Welcome to the Lessons from Leaders Podcast. I'm your host, Brian Beckcom. My next guest is Ron Peters. Ron is currently the executive director at Katy Responds. Ron's originally from Michigan, but he moved to Texas in 1990. He's happily married to what he characterizes as his better half, Jody, and between them, they are blessed with five kids and six grandkids. They currently make their home in the southside of Katy in North Richmond.
Ron was originally involved in the construction industry as a private businessman, and then, after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, he was called as part of his Christian religious beliefs to leave the private industry and ultimately become the executive director of Katy Responds.
Katy Responds is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help people who have had their homes destroyed rebuild. And there are still, three years later, lots of people in Katy, Texas, and other parts of Texas whose homes have still not been rebuilt.
Ron and I talk a little bit about the fact that next to your family and your close friends, your home is one of the most sacred places for anybody. Your home is a very, very important part of your life, and so people that have had their homes destroyed or their homes severely damaged as a result of Hurricane Harvey, that's a very, very traumatic experience. And so Ron decided that he was going to devote the later parts of his life to helping people recover from the damage that was done to their homes.
Ron is the type of person, in my opinion. That is the exact epitome of a servant leader. One of the things I've been very fortunate about as a result of this podcast -- I think this is the 18th or 19th episode -- is I've started to see patterns, leadership patterns, from the people I've interviewed. And one of the big patterns I've noticed in true leadership is about servant-based leadership. It's about what you can do to help other people. And Ron Peters epitomizes servant-based leadership.
We had a great conversation, both about how Ron decided to become the executive director of Katy Responds, some of the thoughts he has about leadership, about how we can help people, some thoughts about spirituality, and some tips that Ron has about how people can deal with this very difficult time we're living in.
I hope you enjoy this conversation with a true servant-based leader. And now I give you Ron Peters.
Family Life and Privilege vs. Adversity
Brian Beckcom: Hey everybody, I’m Brian Beckham at VB Attorneys and I have got Ron Peters on the podcast today. Ron is the executive director of Katy Responds and, you know, Ron, one of the things that has become kind of a recurring theme on the podcast lately, I was talking to my good friend Cyril White who knew George Floyd and my friend Dusty Boyd, who's a district attorney, is this idea of symbolic change, symbolic efforts versus substantive efforts.
And so one of the reasons, Ron, I wanted to get you on the podcast today is because you are truly part of an organization, Katy Responds, that's basically 100% substantive efforts to help rebuild a community that was devastated by a natural disaster a number of years ago. So, I want to talk to you a lot about that, but before we get into that, how you doing man?
Ron Peters: I'm good. I'm good. I'm so happy to be with you. Love what you guys do and appreciate the opportunity to come on board.
Brian Beckcom: Absolutely. Absolutely. Not only are you the executive director of a very important -- I'll call it a community service organization, but you're also a dad, to what? Five kids? Five children?
Ron Peters: Five kids, six grandkids, yeah.
Brian Beckcom: Six grandkids. So you got your hands full from a family standpoint, too, I would imagine, right?
Ron Peters: Well, we’re sort of an empty nester now so it’s settled down quite a bit. My 22-year-old daughter, who's my baby, my singer-songwriter, is living back with us. Actually, COVID sent back home. She lost two jobs and is in the entertainment business. There's not a lot of that going on.
Brian Beckcom: No, that's tough right now. I'll tell you, I'm in Beaver Creek and my next door neighbor is a guy from New York named Cliff Marks. I mean, I'm in a duplex, or a triplex, so he's right next door to me. And he's a super, super nice guy, but he's one of the executives for Cinemark Movie Theaters. And so they're having all sorts -- I mean, the entire entertainment industry is having all sorts of problems.
But, you know, we've been talking -- I talked to John Stephens about this awhile back, too. Obviously the pandemic, a lot of the unrest, the political turmoil, things like that, is negative. It's not a positive thing. But one of the positive things, at least for me, and maybe for you with your daughter, was, you know, I've got three kids. They’re basically teenagers. I've got to spend a lot of time with them. And so, from that perspective, it's been pretty positive. How about you?
Ron Peters: Well, she was looking for work. I don't allow a lot of free-loading for a 22-year-old. I love her to death, but if she's going to come back home for a little bit, she was going to pay rent. She was like, “All right, what do I do?”
She actually came on board and is doing our volunteer client coordination. And when you can put your kids into a situation like this where they see, you know, my kids were raised in a pretty privileged environment. And they didn't know the pain that’s out there.
Brian Beckcom: That's right. That's right.
Ron Peters: And I mean, she and I, even as late as last night, were reviewing a client's information. A flood victim, a 64-year-old attorney, has not been mucked, and hasn't had heat and water in her home since Harvey. And those types of things, when your daughter looks at you with those big teary eyes, I’ll tell you what. If it doesn't break your heart, I don't know what does. And you want to go out and fix it right now.
Brian Beckcom: Yeah, for sure. For sure.
Ron Peters: She's getting to experience a little bit of the reality of what's out there. Especially in our community. So, it's a really -- it's a blessing and I'm sure she's thinking it's a curse, cause she has to live with that for a little while.
Brian Beckcom: Well, you know, my dad always used to tell me and I didn't really appreciate that -- and I really think what you just said about your kids grew up pretty privileged, mine are growing up privileged right now and so one of the things, just like you said, that I worry about a little bit is how do we teach our kids how to deal with true adversity when they haven't really had to experience that that much?
And, you know, my dad raised me and my little brother and my older adopted brother as a single father because my mother died when I was young. And so I got to experience some adversity early on, but for my kids, it's a little bit different story. And my dad always used to tell me, Ron, and it did make any sense to me until recently, that the people that he had the most respect for were the people that came from nothing and made something of themselves and the people that were given every advantage and made something of themselves. Because it's so easy when you grow up in a privileged background to kind of just screw it all away, you know? Not to take advantage of the opportunities you've been given. But this pandemic for sure has given everybody worldwide an experience about how to deal with difficult times.
A Wake-Up Call
Brian Beckcom: So, what are you telling, Ron, the people around you? What are you telling your kids, your family, about how we're going to get through this? Because frankly, Ron, people that aren't in Houston maybe don't appreciate. Your community has been hit twice. I mean, it was hit by Hurricane Harvey and now it's being hit by the pandemic. Right? So, what do you tell people about that?
Ron Peters: Quite frankly, we had the tax day floods ahead of that.
Brian Beckcom: Yeah, good point. For sure.
Ron Peters: I have other organizations that were a part of the coalition under the Houston Responds banner. They're there to build us. And so there were several of us, and those guys, I mean, they have some pretty challenging neighborhoods. Dirt floors. You know, when they do rebuilds, they're walking into just complete destruction. We're walking into mold and things that need to be torn out. But even with that, we're in a pretty nice community.
There's a little bit of that, but quite frankly, although I probably have a little bit of a different take on the pandemic. Honestly, I think it's a wake up call. My personal opinion, Brian, and I didn't want to do it and wear the Jesus necklace, but the reality is I think we're being woken up.
We've got to stop trusting in there and what's happening here. Not that we shouldn't be responsible. We need to be responsible. But there's a time right now for us to wake up and maybe do something a little differently. So, I'm encouraging the men that -- I lead a couple of men's Bible studies and I'm encouraging them. We need to invest in these younger men, tell them not to be afraid of this. Tell them to embrace it and do something different in the community.
Go out of your house and into the outside. And I know we're being told to sit at home, but you can go build somebody’s fence. Go be the hands and feet today. And, quite frankly, we are today. We have volunteers out building things outside, responsibly. Socially distancing. We offer and provide masks. So, we provide for the environment, but we think this is a time when you invest in your neighbor. You get to know your neighbor. And you find out who they are, and you find out what they need.
So anyway, we're diving into it when I think a lot of people and even a lot of our organizations, just brother and sister organizations, are stepping back. And they're doing it for their own reasons. We're trying to dive in.
Brian Beckcom: Well, you know, I think the way you put that, that phrase you use, “wake up call,” that is absolutely perfect. I mean, there's a number of different ways I think you can look at this. One of the ways, and this is kind of frightening because I've listened to some epidemiologists and some people that study pandemics for a living. One of the things that they've been concerned about for a very long time is a virus or a bacteria that kills upwards of 50% of the people it infects.
And so, in a way, this is going to sound weird, but in a way we're kind of lucky that this virus doesn't, number one, doesn't appear to have, on average, really bad effects for young people. I mean, I thank God every day that's true. Right? And the other thing is, though, I think it gives us, like you said, it's a wake up call. It gives us an opportunity to kind of rethink a little bit about the way we live our lives.
Like, for instance, there's a lot of people right now, your organization being a great example of it, that are out there doing positive things and helping the neighborhood. Like, it was almost like during the quarantine, everybody had to call time out and pause and step back and reflect on what's important to them and what's not important to them.
Called to Service
Brian Beckcom: So, have you experienced maybe during the quarantine and during the pandemic some time to reflect on what we should really focus as a community, as a state, as a country, as a human species, like, what's important and what's not? Have you had a chance to reflect?
Ron Peters: To be quite frank with you, it's a big question. And there's probably a lot of conversation that can happen there. I am so, you know, I have a lot of friends that do ministry. One’s in Uganda and I have another one that's my predecessor, the cofounder of Katy Response, Tom Pretti, he's heading to Amman, Jordan at the end of the year to do disaster recovery as a mission.
So, there are people that think bigger than I do. Right? Brian, I was hit pretty hard a year ago. God had led me to leave the industrial sales marketplace three years ago and Jody, my wife, and I started a little one in Richmond. And I had a little construction company. I mean, I was just happy. It was kind of a retirement trail for me. And I got called by -- my church plant was merging with another church. And we got called to -- thought, “What better way to bring men together for a church than a work project?”
We called out to several people and Katy Responds had a fence that they wanted built. So, I had no idea who Katy Responds was, but I was the best fence maker that they’d ever had. I can promise you that.
Brian Beckcom: The fences you build will be standing 50 years from now, right?
Ron Peters: Yeah. I build great fences for Jesus, right? Just what he wanted. But, I’m a fairly talkative guy, as Carlos -- your Carlos -- realized. And I showed up and when I heard the story that these Harvey families, which I had avoided all Harvey work. These Harvey families were driving home every night and seeing Harvey in their driveway two years later.
I was stunned by it. I'm like, “What do you mean?” He says, “No. Look at the damage done, that even we, as an organization, we couldn't fix. We helped them fix the inside of the house. We couldn't get people to pay for the outside. So, you're going to help us do the outside.”
I heard that there were upwards of 2,000 families in my community. Where I live, right? People I drive by, people I go to church with, that are hiding out in mold-infested homes. Brian, I stopped talking. I couldn't talk for the rest of the afternoon. In fact, I was in tears. It was an overwhelming moment with God. He just hammered me.
And I went directly home and I told my wife, I said, “Babe, something's got to change. I've got to do something. I've got to be a part of this.” So, we dedicated half of my schedule to them. I donated that. And then we just tried to make due on what I could make on the other days, until it became evident that I needed to be full-time with them in order to pile through some of these jobs.
And wish I could turn the thing -- the computer to the board. I've got 14 active jobs right now. Katy Responds is a nonprofit, right? You know, nonprofits, we don't store any money and we've gotten some grants and we've been kept afloat a little bit by some of the church community. But they couldn't pay me. I mean, the reality is. And I needed to be.
And so we were praying, we were praying, and Jody and I just finally decided, “You know what? we're going to do it. We'll just figure it out. God’ll provide something.” So, we were going away for a weekend and as we were packing the truck, a car pulled in behind us and a couple got out and said, “Hey, we heard what you've been praying about. And we don't have the skills to build stuff, but we want you to be able to. We have the money. So, we'll sponsor you.”
So, I was able to come alongside Katy Responds basically at no cost to them and help them do this. I felt like God was really -- so, Brian, to answer your question about the big picture. The big picture, to me, is small. The big picture is my community. The big picture is knowing that we still, as of two days ago, I'm still getting emails from people. Yesterday. People that need desperate help.
So, my challenge was early on in the COVID period, how do you take an organization that is running construction in people's homes and pivot during COVID when there’s a lockdown? I would just drain overhead money. I would just drain it. And I would be out of business in two to three months.
So, we had to figure out how to do that. And so, through God's grace -- I mean, quite frankly, the federal government -- that PPP helped us. But during that period, we gotta keep busy. We can't just have people sitting at home. So we started -- are you familiar with the Masks for All program?
Brian Beckcom: That sounds familiar, yeah. For people that aren't familiar with it, explain that to us.
Ron Peters: The City of Houston -- Mayor Turner went out and just said, “Guys, we're going to need masks.” I didn't believe him at the time, to be quite frank.
Brian Beckcom: I tell you what -- not to interrupt you, Ron, but back in February, we were being told by the government that masks were not that effective. And so I was the same way. I mean, I kind of felt the same way.
Ron Peters: Crazy. The CDC paperwork said we don't need masks.
Brian Beckcom: Right. And looking back in retrospect, you're right, I mean, it does seem kind of nuts. But that's what we were being told and so, like a good citizen, I was following what the government was telling me.
Ron Peters: Mayor Turner comes out and says, “We want to be prepared and have a million masks. We want people to begin that.” So, Houston Responds, who we are associated with, went to work and deployed us and said, “Alright, since you're not building, take your people and figure out how to make masks within your church congregations.”
So, we deployed and moved to -- and there's still people. I got a delivery today of people that were still making masks from the city for those who can't go out and buy one. And they’re usually our groups or churches. So people we work with, mostly our churches. So, they're going to get a little scripture with their masks, maybe a little scripture on their mask.
Brian Beckcom: Hey, that's good for them. Some of them probably need it more than others, right?
Ron Peters: So true. Yeah. So, they're going to get some Jesus when they're doing it. But we pivoted there. We had heard that -- you know, we do mucking and gutting, right? So, we had boxes and boxes of boxes of N95s. And so, Memorial Hermann -- a friend of mine is one of the leaders over there. And they were out. They had not prepared well.
Brian Beckcom: And when you say mucking, just so people understand this that don't live in Houston. I mean, mucking is basically going into people's houses and they have got mud and junk and chemicals. I mean, it's just --
Ron Peters: From the flood, yeah, sure.
Brian Beckcom: Nasty stuff from the flood. And you've got to wear a mask a lot of the time when you do this. And so you guys already had a bunch of masks and so you just kind of pivot, right?
Ron Peters: Yeah. When we muck, I mean, we're cutting out two to four feet of sheetrock and you gotta get insulation out. That's all just horrible on human lungs.
Brian Beckcom: Dust and all that stuff. Yeah.
Ron Peters: Nasty. And just to imagine that people are actually still living in and amongst that is hard to imagine.
The Sacredness of Home
Brian Beckcom: During a pandemic, no less, now, right? I mean, this is people -- you know, Dr. Stephens and I talked about this a little bit, Ron. Next to your family, your home is a sacred place. I mean, the home is a sacred place. Right?
Ron Peters: I loved that. I loved what he said. It is so true. I went home to my home after hearing your podcast, and I'm like, “He is so right.”
So now, of course, I'm seeing it in real life with these people are having to deal with it, but, yeah, I'm already aching for them. But this is the -- we're coming in -- one of our clients was actually in the hospital over Harvey and it was mucked. So, in other words, groups came in, tore out all her furniture. Removed the sheetrock. Gutted the house out. Out of love for her, right? She's in the house hospital. Seventy-year-old woman. Comes home. She thinks she’s been robbed.
Brian Beckcom: God. Yeah.
Ron Peters: It’s an emotional experience, but that's what people were doing back then, under the guise of being helpful. And that's great. But, yeah. I forget where I was going with it. I get down to my people.
Passion and Helping Others
Brian Beckcom: I want to interject something right here, Ron, because this is either podcast number 18 or 19, and I've started to see patterns from the different leaders that I've interviewed. And one of the things I've noticed -- so, I've interviewed a number of Marine Corps officers who graduated from college, were in the private workforce, and then 9/11 happened and they got in the military.
I also interviewed yesterday Dusty Boyd, the district attorney at Coryell County who did something very similar. He was in private practice and then he felt called to go to Sudan as part of the United Nations peacekeeping effort. John Stephens talked about how he was thinking about becoming a lawyer, but he had this calling that he couldn't ignore.
And so one of the things that I've noticed, Ron, and I want you to speak to this, is I've noticed that leaders generally not only feel some sort of sense of a calling, but it's not about them. It's about helping other people. Whether it's about helping your country if you're in the military. Helping your constituents if you're a district attorney. Like, Representative Will Hurd, same deal, he felt a calling to help the intelligence community.
And so it's not just that these leaders feel passionate about something. They feel called to something. It's also that it seems to me that they feel called to do something to help other people. It's not like, “I feel called to get as rich as I can possibly get or become as famous.” To have a true calling, doesn't it have to kind of be about somebody other than yourself?
Ron Peters: I've seen that, Brian, and I think what you say is exactly correct. And I've seen it from the corporate perspective. I absolutely, as a sales director for a fairly large top 50 industrial supply company, the way I drove our staff, the folks that worked in and with me, I wanted them to be the best at what they can be. Not everybody was -- it wasn't a cookie cutter organization. I wanted to invest. I would have one guy with a better scope of specialty over here that I would help him flourish that. So, you're absolutely correct.
That's part of the challenge of developing a staff for a nonprofit like this, I think, is finding the right mix of people. I mean, quite frankly, one of my site supervisors is a worship pastor on Sunday. So, you know, you just never know what you're going to get, but somebody who's got a little bit of skill, somebody who's willing to invest, and who has a passion for what we do. You're not going to make a big killing here. I mean, you're gonna make a living in the nonprofit sector, but in the corporate world, yeah, I wanted my guys to be successful.
I wanted them to make a bunch of money, and quite frankly, I wanted our customers to make a bunch of money by using our guys as a resource. So, completely get -- the whole idea, I think, of leadership is to make others around you more effective in the world of their passions. I've hired so many people that tell me that they're passionate about something and it was just a job.
So, I firmly believe God's placed me someplace where I'm going to -- it's obviously a passion for me. I was raised by a single mom. I was the oldest boy. I had to keep the house going. I had the -- if something went wrong, I was the fix it guy.
Brian Beckcom: Man, that sounds so familiar. I was the oldest boy, single father. I was the one washing the dishes. Cooking the food. You know, that sort of thing.
Ron Peters: If I were to show you the board, 70% of them are widows or single moms. These people are left behind. Quite frankly, some of them, their husbands just up and left after Harvey.
Brian Beckcom: And that's something, Ron, that it's easy to forget. I mean, it's easy to forget for, like me, or like you. Happily married, I have kids, I have an intact family. And so during the pandemic, I'm there with my family, but there are a lot of people, a lot of people that are literally by themselves. And it's easy to forget about those people, but that's a potentially dangerous situation. People that are by themselves for too long develop all sorts of problems if there's not people like you in the community to come and help them.
Leaving the Comfort of the Private Industry
Brian Beckcom: Ron, this is interesting to me because you were in a business world, you were very successful, you were comfortable, just like some of these Marine and military people I've talked to. Just like Pastor Stephens. Just like some other folks. You didn't have to do what you did. I mean, you didn't have to become the executive director of a nonprofit. You could have just stayed in the private industry, made your money, helped a little bit, and retired.
So, what was it that drew you, fundamentally, what was it that drew you out of your comfortable business life into what I think most people would say is a pretty difficult job? I mean, you're dealing with people every single day that have very, very difficult stuff going on in their lives. So, it must've been something really fundamental that drew you to this.
Ron Peters: Well, I would have to say it goes back to my sister. I’m the oldest of the five that I spoke about. She was very, very, very successful in the aerospace world in California. She got cancer, you know, the breast cancer kind of got ahold of her. She fought it off twice and it came around the third time. And she and I, outside of my wife, she was my best friend.
Well, I had a moment when I was pretty angry at God for making her sick again. ’Cause I knew it was the end. And so anyway, she sends me a spoken -- her story. Her Jesus story. She was a believer, and we talked about it a lot. But this statement just sticks with me.
One day, she was managing a bunch of people and she had to let two people go and she had to pick them. And she had a bunch of single parents and she's like, “I can't let them go. I can’t let them go. I don't see it.” And so she actually took the lay off herself and her company was like, “No, no, no, we didn't want you to do that.”
Brian Beckcom: “We didn't mean that. Not you.” Yeah. “Not you.”
Ron Peters: She took the layoff, said, “ I can't do that.”
We all have passions for single parents because of our mom's history. And so the thing she said, “The next day, I woke up and I thought to myself, ‘I'm riding a tandem bike and I'm on the back and Jesus is on the front and I'm just going to pedal.’ And I asked him every morning, ‘Where are we going?’ He says, ‘You'll see.’” And I knew at that point, I just needed to hear what he had to say to me and we're going to go that direction.
Brian Beckcom: You know, Ron, one of the things is, I think, when you get called to something like that, you need to listen. Right? Some people, you know, you'll feel this calling, but you won't -- you'll want to kind of push it away because you're already living a comfortable life. You don't have to get involved in that. Somebody else can take care of it for you.
So, there's a tendency sometimes, I think, when you get called to things, maybe to say, “Man, I don't know if I want to listen to that right now.” So, another important part of it when you got called to do what you do is actually listening to the message, right?
Ron Peters: Right. I was climbing on the back of the bicycle. Actually, that bicycle was sitting in front of our little business out in Richmond, because that's the story we want. We want people to know that that's important to us. I honestly, I really do not care about your religion or your race. When we come to help you in your home, we don't look at any of that. But you're sure gonna know that I’m in love with the Lord. I love Jesus. You’re gonna know it. I won't change what I do for you, but you're going to know about it. And so I feel like that's been the change in my life.
Just in the corporate world, I wasn't there yet. I enjoyed the success. I loved being the leader. I loved being the top guy. It was a great time in my life. And quite frankly, being the top guy here, that's not me. I mean, what we want to do, it's gotta be KR. Katy Responds has got to be the important organization. Not Ron, not Matt, not Curtis, not the people in it. We make up it, but it's very important for us to leave the message that Katy Responds is here to serve our community no matter who you are.
I always say that, Brian, because I feel bad about being so vocal about my faith. ’Cause I don't want people to walk away thinking that, “Well, if I don't believe, then he won’t help.” That is just not at all -- we have all sorts of faiths. We have all colors, all kinds.
Brian Beckcom: Not only that, if you're a Christian, though, there's all sorts of stories in the Bible about Jesus going to the unbelievers. I mean, it's an obligation. It's not an obligation as a Christian to just spend time around people that already believe the same way that you believe. I mean, you have an obligation to help everybody to the extent you can.
Ron, well, let me ask you this question, because this is something that it took me a very, very long time to realize. I mean, I'm 47 now. Probably didn't even start thinking about this until I was about 40. But it's real simple. I started thinking about the fact that life is not all about what I do for myself. Like my legacy -- nobody's going to care when I'm dead and gone what I did for myself. What they're going to care about is what I did for other people.
So, talk a little bit about -- have you always been as focused as you are now on the wellbeing of other people, or is that something that's kind of developed over time with you?
Ron Peters: I think I've always been kind of passionate. I’m an Italian, so.
Brian Beckcom: Nice.
Ron Peters: It follows in my temperature. But, I like standing up. I like being in front of people. I'm just that person. I like to be the life of the party. And I think we have a tendency to be, as we get older, I think we step away from that a little bit. So, I have not always been this passionate about helping other people.
When I became a single parent myself, I became a passionate dad. I did everything I could. So, I was inward-focused for a lot of years, Brian. So, I think we all did that. And that's okay. There's a time in our life when we're supposed to do that.
You know, one of the things you said was how do you encourage your kids? How do you show them that there's need out there? What you do is you grab them and you take them out. We have these families show up at these events, these volunteer events, and they see it and they get to experience it. It's the most -- it's exciting. But they're still in a family. They're still raising a family. And that's a beautiful thing.
I would not suggest that my friends or my kids that have two- and three-year olds, seven, ten-year-olds, that they change that. I'm good with it. There comes a time in your life when you're 57, as I am, and you need to do it. We are called to do. And so I think it comes -- it's based on your life experience more than it is just all of us having a desire to make a difference. Right? Does that make sense?
Brian Beckcom: Well, and as a parent, you'll appreciate this. And you've got more experience than I do, but I've started to learn this, I think. I hope. And I think a lot of the parents that are listening will agree with this.
You know, it's kind of a cliche, but kids really don't pay much attention to what you say. They pay attention to what you do. They're looking at what you're doing, not what you're saying, right?
For instance, John Stephens, at chapel, they run a food bank. They've done a bunch of stuff with Harvey. My son has participated in some of that, some of the rebuilding efforts and stuff like that. I mean, don't you think that if you want to teach your kids lessons, it's one thing to say, “Look at what they're doing. Look at how helpful they are. That's good.” And it's a totally different thing to, say, go out there and help yourself. Like, get out there and do the work yourself, right?
Ron Peters: I so appreciated that podcast, to be honest with you. Number one, I didn't know John until that podcast, but I know the gentleman that runs the restoration team. And they're launching as its own 501(c)(3).
Trevor's a great guy, and he's been part of our coalition for some time and he does a very good job. So I really, really, really appreciate the way he runs his crews. I'm sure you all had the experience of getting out there and being a part of your community.
Brian Beckcom: For sure. Yeah.
Ron Peters: You’re part of that community, you’ve probably picked up a hammer.
Brian Beckcom: Oh, yeah, no, I mean, I'm literally right in the middle of it. We've got pictures with my law partner, Vuk, right in the middle of these houses, mucking out houses. I mean, both of us live literally ground zero in West Houston. I mean, basically there was Katy, which was one ground zero, and then kind of the Memorial area downstream, which -- there was almost two ground zeros. But, I mean, we’re right in the middle of it.
Ron Peters: So, you know exactly that. And I think the challenge is, and quite frankly, I hate to admit this and I wasn't going to, but when Harvey hit, I was scared. Here I am thinking about the construction industry. We knew there was going to be dollars flying everywhere, which ended up happening. Right? There was so much contractor fraud. What we're finding is these contractors took 70, $80,000 of these people's money and then did maybe 15, 20,000 worth of work.
I was so afraid of it that I just stepped back. So, even during Harvey, when it was happening, all I can do is go, “I'm going to go drive through neighborhoods.” I have a big truck, right? So, I'm here to drive through and pick people up. So that's all I did. We did a little mucking and getting with the church, but I didn't want the business. And then now I find myself here, which is pretty funny. But no, I think the point of us as parents, we need to get out. Especially our boys. And I'm not trying to say that girls aren't important or not valuable, but our men, our young men need to learn how to be young men. I so believe in the--
Brian Beckcom: Get off the video games and get outside a little bit, right?
Ron Peters: Get outside and do something. This is where our society, I think, is breaking down. When we, you know, our grandparents and our grandparents’ grandparents, there's 10, 12-year-olds driving trucks and fixing tractors and you didn't have the luxuries we have today.
Brian Beckcom: That's right
Ron Peters: Today, we're helicopter parenting. But one of my challenges, and I've got a really good buddy Carl Kurs. He and I have worked on some men's ministries stuff in the past and he is facilitating and allowed us to do some of this on his ranch. We have Ironman weekends. We just get together and talk about what God's vision for men is. Stuff like that.
If we begin to invest in our men and our boys and our younger men and the new fathers, and we show them what it's like to be real men, we're going to step away from divorce. We're going to -- these single moms won't be single moms next time, unless something happens. Right? The breakdown of family is so much of what we see on this board. Had that not happened, a lot of these people would be fixed. Not that they wouldn't have experienced the flood, but they wouldn't be left behind.
And that's what -- we're trying to make a difference there. But we, as a community of men. You with this podcast, the types of people that you're interviewing. Spectacular. And those are the stories that need to be told. What real men are and how to be a real man. That’s why it’s just spectacular. I really enjoyed it.
Brian Beckcom: Yeah. And I think that's a perfect segue, Ron, to talk about -- so, there's a lot of people in Katy and in Houston that know exactly what Katy Responds and Houston Responds does. But for the people that aren't in Houston, that aren't familiar with what you're actually doing, walk us through what Katy Responds is actually doing.
Because again, and this has become a recurring theme on the podcast: Katy Responds is taking substantive action to substantively help people. It's not just symbolic stuff that y'all are doing. So kind of walk us through the mission of Katy Responds, how you're funded, and what you're actually doing substantively to help people in the community.
Ron Peters: Our mission is the restoration of the home. Restoration of the heart. And restoration of the family. So, it fits with the stuff that I've just spent hours going on and on about. But what our job is -- for instance, the call we got the other day. Widow or single woman living alone, flooded in Harvey. Never been helped. Never been helped. Has no money. She does mostly pro bono law work. It was, I think, under 20,000 was her income last year, and trying to maintain a home and it's just impossible. She can't help herself.
So, we get connected to her and, God bless the city of Katy. They took the call and they sent her to us. And so what we'll do is we'll put her through some casework. Katy Christian Ministries has been helpful and helping us, arms length, figure out if we can help these people. ’Cause we have to be careful with fraud, just like everybody else.
So we'll go through and we'll do an analysis and they'll do an analysis and say, “Yep, she's cleared. You can help her.” We'll jump right in. We'll do an assessment. We'll evaluate. We’re a construction company, right? We actually do the rebuilds. We buy granit, we buy lumber, we have crews out there running right now, today.
So we'll go out and we'll do an assessment, figure out what the costs are. The timeframe that we have from the assessment to complete funding is the struggle we have today. We've had resources like church grants. We've had resources from The United Way. The Presbyterian Church has been spectacular. Well, a lot of that's drying up. Brian, we’re two weeks away from the three-year anniversary.
Brian Beckcom: That's what I was going to say is people -- this has been going on for a very long time and--
Ron Peters: We're running out of money.
Brian Beckcom: Yeah, and the money is not unlimited. Yeah.
Ron Peters: That's part of the challenge that we have today and why, quite frankly, we embrace this so well. Give us a little bit of a platform to stand up and go, “Hey, we're going to be realigning our social media message. We're going to be realigning our web presence, and our volunteer presence,” quite frankly. We need our community to start helping us fund it. We can't reach out to the federal government. We can't reach out to United Way. But up until now, we've gone for grants and we would get approved and within a couple of weeks, I would have a check and I would begin the rebuild. Move people out or work around them.
Typically, our jobs will take a month to three months, depending. We're dealing a lot with volunteers. We do our best to use volunteers everywhere we can. Not in any of the important stuff, plumbing, electrical. But we actually have some that volunteer their time. So it’s been a really, really big blessing to us.
We have a great group of people. We need more. We got a lot of jobs on the board, so we could use some help. But more than anything, we're going to reposition our ask. We need to do a better job of saying, “Here's one of our clients suffering. This is how you can help.” Right? We're going to have to do a little bit of that. Which is not comfortable for us. We're not good at -- we're a construction company. We're not your typical nonprofit.
Brian Beckcom: You’re not used to basically holding your hand out and saying, “We need money.” Right?
Ron Peters: That’s exactly right.
Brian Beckcom: You're used to making the money at a for-profit company and, you know, one of the things that’s really interesting to me, Ron, is there's all sorts of psychological studies that say, for instance, we've all seen the commercials of the starving children in Africa. If they show a picture of one child, there is a certain level of donation. Whereas if they show a picture of two, 10, a hundred children, the donations start dropping. Like, the more people are impacted, the less we are willing to give. And so one of the problems I think that you guys may be having is Katy was really -- there were a lot of people that were really negatively impacted. And so psychologically as a defense mechanism, a lot of people will just kind of try to maybe filter that out a little bit, whereas if you do what you're doing right now, and you tell specific stories about specific people, those stories connect with people a little bit more, right?
Ron Peters: I completely agree with you. And that's part of the job that we haven't done good with. We have to do a better job of telling our client stories to help them get home. That's our job. And up until now, we've had a fairly easy ride. Not easy. Don't get me wrong. It's still a chore. We still have one staff person that's completely dedicated to grant writing and to reaching out.
But you know what, Brian, I gotta be honest with you. The human volunteer is probably the most amazing person to me right now. I had the experience, and as I slowly came onto our staff, they made me director of operations and I was running a couple of sites and I was not a fan of the idea of volunteering. I just want to go in. I had my hammer, I had my toolbelt. I want to do the work.
Brian Beckcom: You got your crews, yeah, that know what they’re doing.
Ron Peters: Yeah, I'll write that check and we'll be done. Part of an organization like ours, we flourish and we're looked to to be responsible with the dollars that we have. And so, volunteering is such a huge aspect of that. When we visit with United Way, when we visit with the city of Katy, they're going to want to know that we're using our dollars well and that we're engaging volunteers.
So, I was convinced to try it. I'm going to get on a job site. Never forget, it's in Green Trails right there on Knightsbridge, and we had the One Day Academy team there was going to come and have a bunch of kids landscape. And I'm like, “Oh, this is gonna be a nightmare.”
Brian Beckcom: A disaster.
Ron Peters: I'm thinking, you know, let's do some sheetrock, hang some cabinets, and they're like, “No, we're going to have 10 ten-year-olds.” I’m like, “Oh, no.”
I showed up, we had landscape tools. We brought some -- we wanted to redo the front landscaping. So, we do that and these kids work their butt off. Of course their parents were alongside them. But, I've never seen anything like it. You know, we found jobs for the three-year-olds, we found jobs -- three-year-olds were moving rocks. It was a spectacular event.
Brian Beckcom: That's awesome.
Ron Peters: At the end of it. All of these kids are walking up to me. Pre-COVID, mind you. Hugging me. And just, we're all sweating, filthy. And they're like, “Thank you for letting us help.” They met the family. The family was there to help.
Brian Beckcom: Isn't it something, you know, I want to say it's a paradox, a little bit, Ron, but I'm not sure it is. Like, helping other people makes you feel better. Right?
Ron Peters: Without question.
Brian Beckcom: And it's a really, it's not like, “Oh, you know, I just won this basketball game,” or “My team won the sporting event,” where it's kind of a temporary happiness, and then it goes away. Like, helping other people, it's a deeper level of satisfaction with your life.
So by helping other people, you are putting yourself in a much better frame of mind. It's a more lasting happiness, right?
Ron Peters: Without a doubt. And, to close this story off, I'm completely taken back. I'm exhausted. It was hard work. And I'm an old guy, alright? Hard work. And one little girl walks up, I think she's the oldest of the group. She walks up with an envelope. And it was stacked. It was a thick envelope. And she says, “Here's our fundraiser for you.” I'm like, what? So not only did they come and work their fannies off, they handed me -- could have been 10,000, it might as well have been, right?
Brian Beckcom: Yeah. Yeah. It doesn't matter, at this point.
Ron Peters: We got some change in there. You got a few hundred ones. All small bills. They had donated over $500.
Brian Beckcom: Unbelievable.
Ron Peters: They went through a month-long collection that they did. This is what -- I was so taken back. And so I am completely sold out for using our volunteers. Number one, it gives to them the benefit of doing it. And, quite frankly, they want to help us. We've had volunteers show up and they’re like, “Here's 50 bucks. I want to help this family. Use it. Buy them lunch or whatever.”
Brian, it's the most amazing -- it’s so different than the corporate world. Corporately, you know, even the people that you're buying and they're taking you out to lunch, they're doing all that. There's just not that passion for what we’re doing. I mean, I liked that part of my life, but I think people are missing it. If they don't turn around and look at their neighbor and find a way to make a difference in their community, and we're doing it here.
Philosophy & The Natural State of Man
Brian Beckcom: Ron, let me ask you this question because, you know, I have a degree in philosophy. I've been interested in philosophy for a very long time.
Ron Peters: A&M, right?
Brian Beckcom: Yes, sir. A&M. I have computer science and philosophy from A&M and then law from -- I tell people I went to trade school at UT. I went to law school at UT. People are like, “Who do you root for?” And I'm like, “Really? You're asking me that question? I'm a third generation Aggie. Come on now.”
But, from a philosophical standpoint, something I've been interested in for a very, very long time, going on 30 years, is there are competing ideas in philosophy about the natural state of man. And there are some people that think, naturally, man's natural state is to be mean and cruel and ugly to each other. There are other people that think that man's natural state is to love their neighbor and to have compassion. And sometimes, especially nowadays with all the problems and the social media and the politics, it's really easy to just assume that most people are just bad. They're just not that good.
I actually think the opposite. I still think that human beings are naturally good. So I want to ask you from your experience, like, when these tragedies hit, whether it's a flood, a pandemic, whether it's racial unrest, whatever the case may be. What has been your experience about how people in general, in your community react to that? Do they react to that in a positive way? Did they try to help? Are they trying to help each other, or do you have a lot of bad apples? Like what do you think the natural state of humanity is when they're facing these kinds of tragedies?
Ron Peters: There is no question, based on Harvey. One of the challenges we have as a community is how do we address the next one, right? We had an experience where people were lined up to muck a house. People were standing groups in line. We had Lutherans and the Presbeterians and the Baptists and the Catholics. Everybody's at one address, ready to go muck out a house. And yet it had been done two days before.
Brian Beckcom: People are literally lined up to help, right?
Ron Peters: They're lined up and we, quite frankly, we've developed a platform or a program to help organize that in the future. So, you got to follow the Congregational Disaster Preparedness Program. It is really spectacular. It'll be a life changer the next time.
In fact, it worked. And this is one of the stories I wanted to tell you about the human condition. Do you remember the explosion at Watson?
Brian Beckcom: Yeah, sure.
Ron Peters: An old customer of mine -- it broke my heart, but when I heard that, I woke up to it. And of course, I didn't know it was John's place. A great company. Just so bad for them. But the community was hit, right? So the fire department calls our little coalition and Trevor, TRT, gets the job to organize volunteers to do recovery. Right? So, he had 103 volunteers on site prepped with tools and materials and a clipboard and prayer warriors were all lined up. And within 24-hours, every home in the joining neighborhoods was touched. We understood. He understood what they needed. Or they were boarded up.
That was a weekday, and you got 103 people lined up. That’s what I’m telling you. I think innately, in an emergency, I think we do have a fight or flight. If somebody is coming after me and my wife, I'm going to fight. But I think in that situation, I think our human, me personally, our human condition is that of compassion. Of wanting to make a difference.
Now I think there are people that can take advantage of that, yeah, Brian, you've seen it. You know it. You've been in law, so you've been around it. But I would say that that's not the majority. And I would say it's far from the majority.
Brian Beckcom: You know, the more I've done these podcasts, the more I'm convinced that that's true because the people that I've interviewed so far come from all different walks of life. They grew up in all different sorts of ways. They're involved in all sorts of different businesses or government agencies. But every single one of them is a servant-based leader. Every single one of the people that I've interviewed is really focused on what they can do for other people.
So, you know, the more I talked to people like you, people like John Stephens, people like Dusty Boyd, Will Hurd, RC Slocum, you name it. The more I talk to them, the more optimistic I am about the future. And right now, it's kind of hard to be optimistic because we are literally right in the middle of four or five different things that we have never been through as a country.
So, man. It can be tough. I mean, there were times, Ron, during the quarantine where I was spending a lot of time on Twitter and Facebook and social media. And man, I was getting a little bit down, I gotta be honest with you. But I don't think that's real. I think what's real is not what's on social media. What’s real is what you're doing.
And you have volunteers that are actually in the real world, not the internet world, out there helping real human beings. And so the more we can get that message across, I think, the more optimistic we may be as a country about these very troubling times we're living in right now.
Ron Peters: Early on when this happened, I have an 88-year-old mother-in-law that lives in a joined apartment to my home. And so we're right there with her. One door separates us, right? And so, we had the pull in pretty tight, pretty quick. She's that risk. Right? And she’s healthy. But she was -- we didn't understand it enough to know. So we pulled in, and much to the chagrin of those around us, we just stopped doing construction. We stopped -- we pulled everybody in. And that was -- I'm like you. It was very, very difficult.
Once we learned enough, and thank goodness for some of our friends over at Memorial Hermann and Methodist. We did get them some masks, so they kind of felt like they owed us.
Brian Beckcom: I’m in Houston and in Houston, too, we’re super lucky in Houston because we have, at least in my opinion, the best medical facilities in the entire world. I mean, bar none.
Ron Peters: Without question. I so respect what they do and how they do it.
Brian Beckcom: Me too. And you know, it's like, I was talking to my wife early on about this and, you know, she says, “Do you think there's going to be some doctors and nurses that just refuse to go to work?” And I said, “Probably not because this is their ethic. This is what they signed up for.” I mean, this, to me, is no different than going into battle. I mean, these doctors and nurses are going into situations where they know ahead of time that their life is potentially at risk and they're doing it without any hesitation at all, because that's what they signed up for. Right?
Ron Peters: And I think that’s part of what we were challenged by. And I was like, “We have got to go and start. Our clients are calling. They're really left behind.” Right? So, COVID sends them back to the house that’s potentially got mold in it. They gotta sit in their home now. And we were supposed to come and help them.
So, we just decided that we would begin in summer. We moved a couple people out of their houses just so that we could get people back engaged. And I'm telling you, Brian, there are people that are ripe and ready to get out of their home. They're tired. They're tired of the internet. They may be tired of their kids. I don't know. But they're coming. And we have spots. We have availability.
We got this weekend, we have -- I went canvasing this weekend. We have two fences that we're building next week. We're trying to do outdoor stuff with them. But like you said, people are going stir crazy and there's ways to be responsible and still be out and still make a difference. And we’re in a bit of community.
I'm kind of an introvert at times, you know, when you're standing up in front of people all the time, you probably might understand this. Sometimes you just need to close the door.
Brian Beckcom: Right. And sometimes you can’t. Sometimes, you know, for me, and probably for you, particularly as a very religious person. Sometimes you just need solitude. Right? Sometimes you need to step away from the screens. You need to step away from the people. And you need to be alone with your thoughts. If you're a religious person, you need to be alone with God. And it's hard to do nowadays, right? Because we're just bombarded constantly with incoming information.
Ron Peters: Right. Then tablets and things.
Brian Beckcom: Yeah. You name it.
Ron Peters: I find that when we can get out and get out a fence project and you have people that they just are blessed by it. And so it's cool for us because we actually get to make progress. Our challenge is, you know, we want them to pay for the wood, too.
How to Get Involved With Katy Responds
Brian Beckcom: I’ll tell you what, Ron, and I know you're, you're a busy guy and we've been going for more than an hour, but I do have a couple more questions if you got a little more time.
Ron Peters: Yeah. I'm here.
Brian Beckcom: Okay, cool. So, just because I'm going to blast this podcast all over the place and I'm going to try to help you guys either raise money or get volunteers or whatever you feel you need the most. So, tell us what the website is. Tell us, like, if people are listening right now and they want to get involved with Katy Responds or an organization like Katy Responds, whether it's money, whether it's time, whether it's expertise, whether it's any kind of support, how would they go about doing that?
Ron Peters: Well, it's, you know, everybody, I hate to do this, but we have a phone number
Brian Beckcom: So, for people that are listening on the podcast, the phone number for Katy Responds: (281) 305. -- and is that 8545?
Ron Peters: That's correct.
Brian Beckcom: (281) 305-8545. And then the website is KatyResponds.org.
Ron Peters: Yeah. And that's -- we're tweaking it, but it's there. And it's very productive. And we have a Katy Responds Facebook and Instagram. Then we do a daily tip and we're going to morph that into more of a construction tips, I think. We're going to use some of our expertise, some of our volunteers’ expertise, and try and bring value to those that come visit our site.
But all reality, we have homes that are unfunded. And so, we need help. And, we're gonna be posting some stories up pretty soon. So, keep an eye out, but don't hesitate to reach out to us. If they're out of our community, any financial donation is spectacular. It doesn't matter if it's 50,000 or 50 or five, we'll take it.
Brian Beckcom: Or an envelope with a hundred $1 bills from a bunch of ten-year-olds.
Ron Peters: I got that. And I've got a picture of a--
Brian Beckcom: That’s gotta be the best donation you've ever gotten.
Ron Peters: The other one was a widow at church. Wonderful African American lady. Really off the boat on a very, very tight budget. And she was at church and she was struggling to make her tithe one month so we were -- she couldn't read, so Jody helped her write the check for $30, which was her tithe. And the next week she was struggling to write the check and she handed Jody a check for $60 to Katy Responds ’cause she heard about it. So, it was double her tithe. And this woman couldn't afford it. I honored her by cashing, but I didn't want to. But I took a picture of it and I showed it to our staff and some of our volunteers, “Guys, this is like a million bucks to me.”
Brian Beckcom: For sure. And to her, too.
Ron Peters: It was huge. And it reeks of what our community wants to do for eachother.
Brian Beckcom: Can I ask you a stupid question?
Ron Peters: Go ahead.
Brian Beckcom: I'll bet you that she didn’t say, “Is this money going to a Black person or a white person or a Hispanic.” She probably doesn't care. I mean, it's like all you guys. It doesn't matter who they are. We just want to help whoever it is, right?
Ron Peters: Without question. Somebody asked me about, you know, when the racial unrest started to pick up, “We need to make a statement.” My communications director, Brianne Hill, she was spectacular. She really rode me. “You gotta make a statement. You gotta make a statement. We gotta say” -- ’cause we have a very diverse staff. I mean, we're all colors. We're all leaders. We're everything.
Brian Beckcom: And Katy, for people that don't know, Katy is a very diverse area. And also Katy, I think it's fair to say, and, Ron, tell me if I'm describing this correctly, it's a very independent -- it's like Texas, you know, we are resilient. Katy is a great neighborhood. There's a lot of people that do a lot of different things, but it's a diverse neighborhood and it's a resilient neighborhood.
Ron Peters: Well, the oil patches have done that. Without question, you have people from all over the world that have been moved here. One of my best volunteers, Blair, is from the UK. Wife works in Chevron. And he just, he gets nothing to do. He couldn't work here. So, I’m like, “Alright, come to work.”
We're all over the place, but she was hounding me to make a statement about it. And I'm like, “We don't care what color.” That's why I thought it was important to make that known early. We don't care what religion you care. We don't care. We don't -- it doesn't matter. We're here for you. As one of God's people. So, our little community, as diverse as it is, our staff is diverse, but we try our best to be blind to the other things out there.
Advice for Living in Today’s World
Brian Beckcom: So, Ron. Let me ask you just a couple more questions, if you don't mind. I've asked a lot of my guests this question. We are living through, again, unprecedented times. Nobody alive has ever been through a pandemic like this. I mean, the last pandemic was the Spanish flu. So, there's nobody alive unless they're 105 years old that has been through something like this. And then you pile on top of that the racial unrest, the issues with the police and how we're going to deal with law enforcement and some of those issues. Then you pile on top of that the politics, and then the international issues. So, very, very troubling times.
What do you see over the next four, six, 12 months? What advice would you have for people that may be having some difficulty, you know, psychologically getting through these times. What advice would you give to those sorts of people?
Ron Peters: Boy, advice about how to handle that? We've had some communication about that within, amongst our staff. And I think it's important -- I don't want to risk being too sympathetic in any specific direction. But I think, I mean, I was talking to a friend the other night, there’s such a time as this.
This is a moment in history that is unprecedented. We've never seen it before. We've never done it. And like I said earlier, a wake up call. So I think we have to challenge people to think optimistically about what might happen. I don’t know that any bad thing has stayed always bad. So, we have things that happen in and amongst our world that are horrific. And we learn from it, it becomes history, and we become better human beings. This is one of those moments. We're going to learn from it and we're going to become better.
I'm a huge proponent of voting. I think we, as a society, as an age group, that we're woefully inadequate at getting to the polls. And it reflects in some of the leadership that we ended up having. So, I was visiting with Lance Redmon, one of our Katy ISD board members. And we were talking about the decision to not go back to school for three weeks and how he was, you know, what he was feeling about that. We were talking about the election, and he goes, “Ron, there's potentially 200,000 people that could vote in that election.” So, do you know how many returns they had for the most recent election? It was 10,000.
People, we need to do a better job. We have got to get out. I don't care what side of the room you sit on. It doesn't matter to me if you're left, right, conservative, liberal. I could care less. We have the opportunity to make a difference in our community by voting what we want, what we think is smart. But we don't do it. We just let somebody else take into it.
That's something we as a community need to do. And I believe wholeheartedly that when our men, when our families start staying together, our men start doing manly things. And we employ governance that is responsible. I think it's going to change our world. I really honestly believe that. So, you have to get out and vote. Again, it doesn't matter how you vote. Just make a difference. Vote.
Sorry. All right. This wasn't a commercial, Brian.
Brian Beckcom: Well, you know what, let me suggest something else to you, Ron, okay? And you're too modest of a person to have brought this up in response to that question, but you can sit around, like, let's say you've lost your job. Or let's say you're a teenage kid that can't go to school or play sports. You could sit around and watch the news all day long, or look at your phone and social media and gain 20 pounds and not do anything. Or you could do what a lot of people are doing, like you're talking about. You could get out and go to Katy Responds or somebody like that and get outside and help some people.
Ron Peters: Sweat a little bit.
Brian Beckcom: Yeah. And so I want to encourage people that are in the Houston area or the Katy area that are maybe going through difficult times, you know, I can just basically guarantee you that if you reach out to Ron, you reach out to Katy Responds, I know you guys will have work, right?
Ron Peters: We have it, yeah. It’s right there.
Brian Beckcom: And I want to make you a promise that if you go help, you will put yourself in a much better frame of mind. No doubt about that. I will guarantee you that if you get out and go to work with a group like Katy Responds, not only will you help people, but you'll help yourself, too.
Ron Peters: Brian, I so appreciate your saying it. And that is so true. It's been true of everybody that we've had show up at our door.
Brian Beckcom: You probably, Ron, you know, tell me if I'm thinking about this, right. I'll bet you one of the greatest parts about what you do is you get to see volunteers come in for the first time and then you get to see the smiles on their face when they've done something tangible to help other people, just like you were talking about with the kids. That's gotta be one of the best parts about your job is seeing -- not just helping people that need help, but the helpers are helping themselves. Right?
Ron Peters: You’re speaking my language. Absolutely. Like I said, I was not a fan of the volunteer usage initially, but when you look at our website, some of the photos and we've had with some of the jobs --
Brian Beckcom: Huge smiles.
Ron Peters: We’ll be posting a video here pretty shortly. In fact, it may be up there tomorrow. So that'll be available at our website. But it's six and a half minutes of stories of what we've done in some houses and shows pictures of volunteers. And some of our -- everywhere you go, you have smiles. Except for the story, right? The people that do the work are loving what they're doing, and they're not at their own home. They're helping other people. It's spectacular.
Even our patrons will be a part of it. They come to the celebration vendors that we have when we finish a project. So, it'll change your perspective on the community. It'll change your perspective on other people. I highly encourage it and I appreciate you mentioning it. That's awesome.
Brian Beckcom: You got it, Ron.
Well, we've been going for almost an hour and a half now. I really appreciate all your time. If it's okay with you, I just want to say a few things.
So, I was talking to Coryell County District Attorney Dusty Boyd yesterday for the podcast. Great guy, super good leader. And he said something that I've been thinking about since yesterday. He said, “You know, I like the name of the podcast, Lessons from Leaders, but you could also call it Lessons from Servants.” And Ron, you epitomize that idea. You are truly a servant leader. You are doing what you are doing to help other people, like we talked about earlier.
You didn't have to do any of this. You could have lived your comfortable corporate life, given a little money to the organization, and let somebody else do it. But you actually put your money where your mouth was. You left your comfortable life. And now basically you've devoted yourself to serving your community. So, I just want to tell you how much I appreciate what you're doing.
I know a lot of people that are listening to this podcast will appreciate it, too, and you're just a great guy. You're a great American. And you're the kind of person, again, after 18 or 19 podcasts, that leaves me with a sense of optimism about ultimately we're going to get through this, and we're going to get through this, Ron, frankly, because of people like you.
Ron Peters: Well, I appreciate the opportunity to come on. Those are kind words, and there's a lot of work to do. We're here to do it. So, thank you.
Brian Beckcom: Alright, my friend. I appreciate your time. Everybody, KatyResponds.org. (281) 305-8545. I promise you, if you get out there and help, not only will you be doing a great thing for the community, but you'll be doing a great thing for yourself, too. So thank you very much, Ron.
Ron Peters: Thank you.
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