Tag Archives: Contest Winner

rc_sep14_2017_fi

Contest Winner: An Officer and a Gentleman

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Contest Winner: An Officer and a Gentleman

Will Gonell

GonellHomes

Toronto, Ont.

GonellHomes.ca

Regular readers should recognize Will Gonell from the cover of our February/March 2017 issue. The former U.S. Marine and New York City police officer, moved to Canada six years ago and has been building a high-end renovation business ever since. But not one to forgo his past, Gonell donates time as part of the Community Police Liaison Committee with 22 Division in his adopted home city of Toronto. 

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When tensions between the public and the police began to rise Stateside and trickle into our city last year, I thought this was a good opportunity for me as a civilian to lend my experience as an officer to the community at hand, and hopefully help to provide a balanced perspective to the conversation.

The Community Police Liaison Committee encourages community engagement via youth-oriented crime prevention projects, education and awareness, and fundraising for youth scholarships. As a civilian and retired police officer, I’m able to see both sides of the equation, topic of discussion, or community concern.

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Early in my career as a rookie officer, I spent a lot of time with senior officers who taught me that the key to good policing was to get the community involved. It’s very rewarding to work with young people in the neighbourhood – helping youth via education and programs.

As cliché as it may sound, the motto “to serve and protect” is very much a part of who I am as a general contractor. Homeowners put their trust in me to protect their family investment, and my job is to serve these families in providing a no-hassle, safe environment for them to enjoy.

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Will Gonell won a skid of DRIcore subflooring, courtesy of DRIcore Products.

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We’d like to make sharing our readers’ passions an ongoing part of the magazine. If you think you’ve got a better tale to tell, send it to Allan Britnell: allan@renocontractor.ca.

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rc_sep13_2017_fi

Contest Winner: The Biking Bushwacker

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Contest Winner: The Biking Bushwacker

Arnie Bauman

A. Bauman Construction Ltd.

Selwyn, Ont.

ABaumanConstruction.com

Many of us enjoying bike riding in our free time. Sounds like most of us wouldn’t enjoy doing it with Arnie Bauman…!

In my late-40s, I decided to start carving out time again for some of my former passions that had gotten shuffled to the back of the deck as my family and business responsibilities grew. One of my former pursuits was trail riding on my bike. I like to find the most backwoods routes from Point A to Point B.

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One trip was a two-day adventure with a buddy to our hunting camp. The route included a variety of roads and tracks, including a seemingly easy 4 km straight-line bushwhack to get from one road to the next.

We started this “off road” portion of the trip at about 2:30 pm on a Friday afternoon. Little did we know that it would take us through some of the roughest bush country Hastings County has to offer. We dragged our bikes and gear over, under, around, and through deep gullies, marshes, unbelievably thick bush, and rivers.

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At around 8 pm we decided it was time to call it a day and set up camp for the night. We still hadn’t made it through the 4 km straight-line to the next road.

The next morning we got going again at around 8 am. After two hours of more slugging through the same stuff, as the previous afternoon, we came to a very thick groove of cedars. After pushing our way through we climbed over an old stone and cedar rail fence and couldn’t believe what we were seeing. Behind us was the dense bush and in front of us was a beautiful, plush, manicured fairway of a golf course.

The property we stepped onto belonged to a retired golf course owner. When he sold his former golf course and retired to his dream cabin away from the city, he built a three-hole course on several acres of cleared land that came with the property. This man was sitting on his front porch watching us walk our bikes across his fairway, to the road we’d been looking for for the past 20 hours.

When we told him our story he could hardly believe us. He keep exclaiming, ‘You came through there? With bikes? I can’t walk 100 yards into that bush before I’m lost.’”

Arnie Bauman won a Ridgid 18V hammer drill and impact driver combo kit, courtesy of Ridgid.

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We’d like to make sharing our readers’ passions an ongoing part of the magazine. If you think you’ve got a better tale to tell, send it to Allan Britnell: allan@renocontractor.ca.

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rc_sep12_2017_fi

Contest Winner: Course Correction – Jax Bailey

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Contest Winner: Course Correction – Jax Bailey

Jax Bailey’s hard play almost jeopardized his hard work. A sports injury threatened to have him laid up for a year. Rather than moping about his misfortune, he decided to redirect himself.

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I work hard, I play harder. I am very physically active and enjoy hockey, roller hockey, football, basketball, running, swimming, and badminton. A hard hit and a body smash cracked my shoulder and caused right wrist damage that required surgery. I was on the surgical wait list for eight months before my surgery took place in May.

My wrist injury was a big wake-up call. I was unable to work as an apprentice, meaning I wasn’t able to earn any money.

I didn’t want to waste a year sitting idle so I talked to school counsellors and looked at what courses I should be taking to get a grasp of the business requirements. I signed up and worked on courses to become a more rounded and resourceful student who also understands the business end of the trade

The upside of my injury is because I needed to find other activities to fill the void. I was one of 150 youth across Canada invited to attend “Experience Canada 150 & Me” as a youth delegate in Montreal (April 9 -14th, 2017) focusing on discussions about Canada and its future. I was also selected as one of 50 youth across Canada as a delegate for the Rick Hansen Youth Summit in Ottawa (May 19–22, 2017, just three days after my surgery).

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I will be back to capacity over the next few months and even more motivated and ready to work hard and play harder.

Jax Bailey won a DeWalt 20V XR hammer drill and impact driver combo kit, courtesy of DeWalt.

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We’d like to make sharing our readers’ passions an ongoing part of the magazine. If you think you’ve got a better tale to tell, send it to Allan Britnell: allan@renocontractor.ca.

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rc_sep11_2017_fi

Contest Winner: He’ll Be Building a Lot More Birdhouses Now….

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Contest Winner: He’ll Be Building a Lot More Birdhouses Now….

He’ll Be Building a Lot More Birdhouses Now….

 Larry Toms

Larry F. Toms Construction Ltd.

Havelock, Ont.

Larry Toms was working so hard his wife, Cheryl, had to enter for him!

“After more than 50 years he’s slowing it down – but not so much that he had time to enter your contest – that’s where the devoted wife comes in!

We live on several hundred acres, many managed forest, and are truly blessed to enjoy nature up close and personal.

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Larry is an avid, enthusiastic, and passionate hunter. Two of his successes are featured in Big Game Records of Ontario: 1994 Typical and 2011 Non-Typical,” writes Cheryl. She also acknowledges her husband’s support of her own hobby. “Despite too few downtime hours and too many jobs, he patiently builds me birdhouses so I can paint them. I can’t think of a more deserving contractor, or loving husband.”

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Larry Toms won a Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt, courtesy of Schlage.

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We’d like to make sharing our readers’ passions an ongoing part of the magazine. If you think you’ve got a better tale to tell, send it to Allan Britnell: allan@renocontractor.ca.

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rc_sep8_2017_fi

Easy Rider

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Easy Rider

David Litwiller

Litwiller Renovations & Custom Homes Ltd.

Calgary, Alta.

CalgaryRenovations.com

Calgary’s David Litwiller has an amusing justification for his mid-life crisis choice: “A motorcycle is cheaper and safer than a mistress…!”

He rides it to client meetings and on other errands as often as he can. But he’s also been on a couple epic cruises.

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“From July 8 to July 20, 2016, a buddy and I rode from Calgary all the way to the Arctic Circle north of Fairbanks, along about 600 miles of gravel roads. Then, this past January 2017 the same pal and I trailered to Las Vegas and then rode to Puerto Vallarta and back. Got rear-ended in El Rosario, Mexico, road through an ice storm, dodged pot holes the size of a small car and road washouts, but the best memory was the wonderful people and scenery. Looking forward to doing it again.

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David Litwiller won a Milwaukee M18 Fuel Sawzall reciprocating saw with One-Key technology, courtesy of Milwaukee Tools.

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We’d like to make sharing our readers’ passions an ongoing part of the magazine. If you think you’ve got a better tale to tell, send it to Allan Britnell: allan@renocontractor.ca.

 

 

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rc_sep7_2017_fi

Table Talk

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Table Talk

Derek Pretorius

Derius Design

Toronto, Ont.

DeriusDesign.com

Derek Pretorius is a custom millworker who lives in Toronto with his fiancée and three-year-old stepdaughter. He says they enjoy cooking and baking together, and spending time at the cottage. Work has gotten in the way of playing piano – “I used to play very well but, I have no time for rehearsing now” – but, every year he manages to get away with a group of friends for a 10-day fishing trip in Temagami. “For a few of us, this year will be our 10th year.”

The part of his story we liked best of all: weekly ping-pong tournaments.

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“We transform our workbench into a ping-pong table on Thursday nights and my staff gets together with a few of my buddies to play. We have tournaments and a custom made trophy.”

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Derek Pretorius won a Napoleon TravelQ 285 with scissor cart, courtesy of Napoleon Grills.

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We’d like to make sharing our readers’ passions an ongoing part of the magazine. If you think you’ve got a better tale to tell, send it to Allan Britnell: allan@renocontractor.ca.

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rc_sep6_2017_fi

Gone Fishing

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Gone Fishing

Dun For You Home Improvements

Welland, Ont.

DunForYou.Com

Many readers will already be familiar with Don Vloet, of Dun For You Home Improvements in Welland, Ont. He’s attended our Renovators’ Roundtable every year – where he’s been a guest speaker – and has frequently contributed articles to the magazine. When he’s not on the tools, he likes nothing better than to drop a line in the water and be able to yell, “Fish on!” Here’s the story of how he’s managed to combine his two passions.

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In 2006, I was doing a second job for one of the very first clients I’d had back when I started out in 2003. While I was there, she got a phone call from her brother asking if she wanted to partner with him and buy a fish camp. Back then I had know idea what a fish camp was, so she explained what it was, and that it was in the middle of nowhere on Lake Manitou in northwestern Ontario.

Fast-forward a few years and I’d gotten hooked on fishing. I was with a friend at the local Sportsmen’s Show when lo and behold, who do I see standing in an aisle calling out, “Don, is that you?” One thing led to another and before you know it I was up at her family’s fish camp in late July.

While there, I meet the brother, Duane. He tells me about his vision of having a wood-fired sauna and hot tub sitting at the edge of the lake. “I hear lots of great stuff from my sister about you. Do you think you would be interested in building it for me?”

That September I drove back up to the camp with my truck and tools. It’s about a 20-hour drive from where I live – you actually cross a time zone – and the drive ends on a logging road, followed by an hour-long cruise from the boat launch.

I guess I passed because since the initial build it has become a tradition that I go up every year to do a project around camp and stay there for a week while meeting great people and building relationships! For me, it’s peace and tranquility. No cellphone ringing, no email, no Facebook. Just trees, rocks, and water. And lots of fish.

Never in a million years did I think I would have built a sauna, deck, and 24’ x 36’ cabin in the middle of nowhere, all because I worked hard for one of my first clients and in turn get to play harder in their wilderness playground!

Don Vloet won a Porter-Cable 20V MAX cordless brad nailer, courtesy of Porter-Cable.

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We’d like to make sharing our readers’ passions an ongoing part of the magazine. If you think you’ve got a better tale to tell, send it to Allan Britnell: allan@renocontractor.ca.

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