Remodelers Council Article

Larry Abbott held his last meeting of the year as President of the GHBA Remodelers Council. 

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale was the Guest Speaker. The following is an article entitled “A Life Built For Others” that appeared in the Houston Chronicle. 

 “You are here to help people and that is a life worth living” was the important message Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale related when he spoke to the Remodelers Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association (GHBA) at the Houston Racquet Club. 

For over 30 years, McIngvale, the energetic owner of Gallery Furniture, has given back to his community – and the world.  McIngvale was recently considered a “Harvey Hero” after opening his store to Hurricane Harvey refugees in 2017. Hundreds of flooded evacuees found shelter in his showrooms, and comfort in McIngvale’s caring attitude towards his Houston community. Gallery Furniture is also responsible for furnishing 136 U.S.O. facilities around the world.

McIngvale’s inspirational speech, “A Life Built for Others,” documented the journeys of several Houstonians who have improved our world, including cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey, who started his career as a battlefield surgeon during World War II. DeBakey later helped to develop the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit, the VA system, and practiced medicine until his death at 99.

In 1967, unable to find an appropriate facility to teach her handicapped daughter, Yvonne Streit, founded Briarwood School in Houston, and later, Brookwood School in Fulshear. McIngvale related a story about a young Briarwood student with severe discipline problems who Streit “never gave up on” – actor Woody Harrelson. Harrelson later said “Briarwood changed my life.” At 87, Streit is still involved with the schools and in improving lives.

McIngvale ended with the inspiring story of his daughter, Elizabeth, who suffered from such severe, immobilizing, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) that some doctors said she should be institutionalized. McIngvale and his wife researched and found help for their daughter. Now, holding a PhD in social work, Elizabeth McIngvale founded the Peace of Mind Foundation and teaches at Baylor University.

For over two decades, the award-winning GHBA Houston Remodelers Council has had a strong history of helping others through their annual charity renovations. Their projects have improved the lives of thousands of Houstonians including veterans, homeless mothers and families, and citizens who utilize community services such as Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services (ECHO). Projects have included renovations for Wellsprings Village, Crossroads, Santa Maria Hostel for homeless female veterans, Open Door Mission, SIRE Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Family Time Crisis Center, Epiphany Community Health Outreach Services and the Sonrise Shelter. The council funds the charity projects through revenues from the annual Charity Garage Sale held at the NRG center.

This article was written by Amy Robinson,  Public Relations chair of the Remodelers Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association.