(Congrats to Bob Goodall, Jr., President of Goodall Homes for being named Sumner Countian of the Year. This article was written by Sherry Mitchell of The Gallatin News, published on 12/31/15. Please click HERE to view the original published editorial. The same article was published in The Hendersonville Standard and can be viewed HERE.)
He's known to many as a successful home builder and real estate mogul, but when it comes to service to others, Bob Goodall truly has a heart for giving.
From making sure the hungry are fed; to providing homes to much deserving members in the community; Goodall consistently puts others before himself.
It is for these reasons that the Gallatin News has named Goodall as its Sumner Countian of the Year for 2015.
When Joe James - a double amputee veteran, and his family were offered a home through Goodall Homes
and Operation Finally Home
, James was a bit skeptical as to why anyone would go to that extent for someone else. He wanted to make sure it was a good fit for his family, and that is was being done for the right reasons.
"He (Bob Goodall) opened up to me that he was just in awe and so thankful for all that veterans have done and he completely sold me - I knew for a fact his heart was completely into doing this, but not for himself," James said. "And he's not going to stop - nothing can stop him from giving back to the community and giving back to veterans. He loves just changing people's lives.
"Even to this day, they haven't forgotten us - they are always checking up on us to see if we need anything."
James said after speaking with Goodall, it's not hard to understand why he is so selfless towards others - the fact is - he's just a great guy.
"He gets it and he is such a pleasant man - he's always happy and always has an ear for you," he said. "You would think a man with a business that big wouldn't have time for a veteran, but he goes out of his way."
This is the second home Goodall has built through the Operation Finally Home program.
"We have a strong sense of philanthropy at Goodall and we respect our veterans tremendously," Rachael Overall, director of marketing for Goodall Homes, said. "They sacrifice their lives to keep us safe and we feel like it's our job to give back to those veterans when we can - it's such a great cause."
Goodall provides home for couple married 54 years
Though not a profitable career, Pastor James Gill has served the church for most of his life. He and wife, Barbara had long ago accepted they would never own a home.
But the director of the Sumner County Food Bank was in for a big surprise in late last year, when Goodall Homes honored the couple with a brand new house in Castalian Springs. Gill said the more-than-kind gesture from Bob Goodall, was a dream come true.
"He gave me something I never had; nor would I ever have had, being a pastor, and he gave my wife a yard she can plant a flower in; a wall she can hang a picture on, and a swing on the front porch she can swing in anytime she wants to," Gill said. "I prayed many years she would have that opportunity, but I never thought it would happen after 54 years of marriage - it just fulfilled a fantasy, a dream, and a miracle. He gave us what we had both agreed; we would never have on this earth.
Goodall said the idea to build the Gill's a home came from a discussion he had with other volunteers at the Sumner County Food Bank.
"We got to talking how he is 72-years-old and he's never owned his own home, and it just stuck with me, and a little bit later a gentleman from the church came by my office and he really planted the seed," Goodall said. "He said Brother Gill had taken all of his savings and put it in the food bank and that was what he had to build a house with and we needed to see if there was a way we could help."
Goodall said the first person he approached for a donation wrote a $30,000 check.
"We knew once we had that, we were well on our way to getting this home built," he said.
More agencies helped
Goodall Homes is also an avid supporter of the Second Harvest Food Bank -
"Our goal is to help raise awareness of how hunger affects our friends and neighbors," he said. "It's part of our heritage to make sure we do that, to make sure that folks are fed and that they don't go home hungry and that they are making sure they go home nourished."
But the list of community service doesn't stop there. The company's other non-profit sponsorships also include: Sumner Co Drug Free Coalition, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Children Are People, Too, Sumner County Food Bank, United Way of Sumner County, Habitat for Humanity of Sumner County, Bass n Buddies, and Make a Wish Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
In 2014, Goodall Homes
was named "Builder of the Year" by Professional Builder
, North America's leading business publication dedicated to the home building industry. The award spotlights the best of the best when it comes to building homes.
The Gallatin-based company was founded more than 20 years ago when Bob built his first home in 1983. Goodall Homes can now be found in Wilson, Williamson, Sumner and Davidson counties.
Although honored to receive the award, Goodall made a humble comment; saying it wasn't just about building good houses.
"We've done a good job of finding niches in the market," he said. "We want to continue to build leaders and give back to our community."
Goodall plans to continue to serve his community and also work with Operation Finally Home. Those who have been helped - they just hope he understands what a difference he has made in the lives of others.
"He is continuing this process and working with other organizations," James said. "They are losing money doing this and he doesn't care and that really inspires me. We were in a house we barely fit in and we would not be where we are today if it were not for him.
"He has allowed me to feel safe and happy again where I live, and if it wasn't for Bob Goodall; that would have never happened."
A man of many words to others, Gill said he is at a loss to find the right words to thank Bob Goodall.
"Bob Goodall gave me a new life and it meant more than I can possibly put into words," Gill said. "I can think of nobody that deserves this more than he does."