The GCFFA dedicated this year’s fair in part to him for his past community involvement. “I was a director on that board for 16 years and continue to volunteer,” Laughlin says. “We are the oldest fair in Texas and it’s a part of preserving our culture. We are a tradition-based community.” The money raised by GCFFA goes to scholarships at the local high school, mostly for agriculture-related careers, he adds.
Laughlin’s involvement in the chamber of commerce includes helping with events that will raise money for the chamber, the economic impact it has on the community as well as the great networking opportunities it provides. At the time Residential Design + Build spoke with Laughlin, he was preparing for the next day’s chamber golf event.
“We raised $25,000 for the local chamber which is 10 times the amount raised last year,” he says. This is impressive especially considering this was raised when many news reports hint at a double-dip recession. In addition, the golf event was going to include double the capacity of golfers compared to last year with 144 players at this year’s event. “I worked with my subcontractors and clients. Hopefully it’s a big success,” he adds.
All these community involvements don’t surpass Laughlin’s experience with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. In February 2011, Laughlin and his carpenters participated in an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in his area to help out a soldier hurt during the Fort Hood shooting. “The Texas Association of Home Builders asked for volunteers, and I asked my guys and they were excited,” he says. “We worked all night into the next night. It was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever been a part of.” Laughlin donated his and nine carpenters’ time and materials to the project.
Advice for others
During a time when so many builders are struggling to find jobs, RD+B asked Laughlin what keeps him motivated to continue to donate his time to so much community involvement. His answer was as simple as do the right thing. “We’ve been blessed with the amount of work we’ve had because we never focused on taking a job to make a lot of money. The focus is always on helping the community and doing the right thing,” he says.
Laughlin calls on other builders — and business owners in general — to get involved. “There are always people who say they aren’t ever asked to do anything. But you shouldn’t have to be asked,” he says. “You should pick up the reigns and help the community — set an example.”