The Big 50

10 years ago (May 13) we were invited to Washington DC for the Remodeling Magazine ‘Big 50’ awards dinner. It was probably Treys Proudest moment in construction. Strock won the ‘teamwork’ division.

Teamwork to do with the length & strength that Strock had with its subcontractors. Some 20-30 years. But really it had more to do with the teamwork of a family. You would not believe how many people could not believe that Trey and his parents worked so well together, and could work together. People would always assume that Trey had started the company....he always had that presence about him...but he would say no, My dad started it way back, in Savannah and then Hurricane Hugo brought my family to Charleston.

Trey had graduated high school in Savannah - went to Mercer University - ‘didn’t do so well’ and ended up at Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Ga. he always talked about the hour drive everyday. He worked for RPS at the time before it was taken over by FedEx. Trey was over a pretty big region of the southeast Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia. He loved that job, loved the guys he worked with, the systems that he built, everything about that job.

Hurricane Hugo happened-destroyed Charleston. Tommy came to Charleston to help. He slept on peoples floors, basically wherever he could. Met people, took care of people...moved Brenda and Missy up shortly after. ‘SEI’ was started in Charleston.

All that I know, and I don’t know that things were good, and then the navy base was closed down. Right in the midst of two or three spec houses being built. Times were tough. Trey came to Charleston to save the day (not really, but that’s how I always pictured it)

Anytime things got tough for anyone the strocks all pulled together. Tight. Trey moved to Charleston to help with the business end of things. And learned everything he could from Tommy. It all worked well, or rather well. Lord there were days Trey would come home mad as hell. He was quitting...going back to FedEx...he did not need this bull$&!...he was done. Before I met the Strocks I just thought oh goodness...These people are crazy tyrannical whackos.

And then I met them and realized GOOD LORD it’s Trey and Trey. And when people are too alike it’s a mess. We used to grill out every single night. We would have a drink and Trey would vent. But, after meeting the strocks, and especially working with them - I’d point out that Trey does the same exact things that he’s complaining about.

....que the fireworks show....

Trey would EXPLODE. Over nothing really. I’d just point out the similarities they all had. And he would calm down. Or the fact that his mom was probably right about not wanting to pursue every hair brained idea he had. That was so long ago. But I remember all those conversations like they were yesterday. He would get so frustrated...if things would just be allowed to go his way, everything would be okay...BUT you had three strocks all together. MERCY.

I don’t wanna say hard headed ...but... hard headed. Not in a bad way. At all. More in a well balanced way. You have the imagination station free thinkers ... Tommy & Trey ... and you have the realm of reality ... Brenda ... and then shaving her head to the beat of her own drum you have Missy. I feel sorry for Brenda. She had to hold the zoo together. As Trey would say...she was the original conductor of the crazy train.

Tommy & Trey. Lord have mercy.

Trey & Tommy. I don’t know if there were two people more alike than those two. Practically in every way. Hard hard hard workers. Determined. Focused. The goal post was constantly moved. And FIERCELY loyal.

You upset’re dead.

Either one of them upset Brenda ... the other would have a whole arsenal ready. No nothing serious...just like Tommy forgot to bill someone for something....or Trey decided he was going to build a 3 story office building....out of the blue. Oh lord. I remember those days.

Princess(Brendas Buick) would come squeaking up the street ... Brenda would walk in, the door would loudly close...keys in purse. ‘TOMMY? Where is Tommy?’

Oh Moses....he done mess up. We all knew. Lunch was going to be late.

Same thing when Trey would stir things up. Whichever one did not mess up it was almost like ‘nanny nanny boo boo you’re in trouble...’

Everything always got straightened out. It was always an adventure. I remember the first time I heard Tommy getting in trouble at the office. Brenda was ‘hollarin’ not screaming...just talkin loudly...I needed my blanklet.

It was always the same. Tommy would need some help figuring out a mess. Trey would say ‘let’s go get a coffee’. Tommy would figure it all out. Everything would be good...til the next time. Trey would get so mad...he’s quitting. Not appreciated. No one likes him. I’d tell him to shut up, and get over it...he doesn’t need to build a brand new office building. Give it some time. He’d calm down.

And then....who’s ready for lunch? food, and all is good. I have never seen anything like it in all my life. Fight, get through it, fix it, eat, all good.

The Strocks were all about teamwork. So this award was really really fitting. That night Trey felt like he had made it. He was being recognized as being one of the top 50 remodeling companies in America...along with his Mom & Dad. Treys family meant EVERYTHING to him.

Looking back at ‘work’ is really hard. Especially the way it all ended. Work was our lives. 100% we didn’t do anything ANYTHING without it in some way affecting, or effecting work. That’s just how it was. Work was 24/7 everything was work, but at the same time nothing was work. I never felt like ‘oh’s Monday’ or any of that. It was just a part of life, and we enjoyed life.

I hate for the last two years of Treys life he missed out on a lot of work. He still stayed involved all the way til the end, but things really started to slow down for him. After my stroke I really don’t know what happened. And then March 18, it was all taken away. I remember just walking around the office in a total daze. I didn’t pack one thing...I couldn’t. I don’t think I could really comprehend what was going on.

All I really remember is that I didn’t want to strocks to pack anything up - I didn’t want them to see or feel everything that I was feeling. I honestly don’t know how that would have been possible-I’m sure they were having an incredibly harder time than I was.

Those were the hardest few weeks ever. Life had already been destroyed two or three times...and then having to pack up and store the one last thing in my life. That was hard. Incredibly hard. And now it all sits in a storage unit. Boxed up. My life of 20+ years. In a box.