Chris Grubb, a 59-year-old Sequim/Dungeness area contractor, said he never anticipated a natural disaster coming to one of his projects like this.
On Jan. 11, he and his family finished installing trusses for a 60-foot-by-100-foot shop near the Sequim Valley Airport along Old Olympic Highway. His son-in-law Cortland Waldron said the shop was Grubb’s final official project before hanging up his contracting hat for Grubb Construction.
Grubb planned to come back and put up siding later in the week until he received a phone call about the shop’s destruction the next morning.
High winds blew down two-thirds of the structure, with only the western wall and half of the northern wall remaining standing.
Most of the trusses were destroyed.
“I couldn’t believe it when I heard it,” Grubb said. “I walked around it in a daze.”
He had spent months building up project and with his family’s help installed 51 trusses. Now Grubb estimates he has at least three trusses that didn’t break, so he had to order new ones.
“We had it it set really well,” he said. “I even checked the weather for that night and it was calling for 15 mph winds. I wasn’t that concerned. I heard the winds that night. I’ve been on a roof before with 15 mph winds.”
However, Grubb and others saw reports afterward that the winds got up to 70 mph in the area.
Losses are put at about $40,000, so Waldron started a Gofundme account seeking support at gofundme.com/f/zfhvnb-help-chris-rebuild under “Help rebuild a Dream.”
As of press time, the effort has raised more than $9,000 of the $50,000 goal.
Grubb has lived in Sequim for more than 22 years with about 17 of those as a contractor. He and his wife Teresa have nine children — five girls and four boys — and six grandchildren, and he’s known in the Sequim sports world for coaching Babe Ruth baseball and fastpitch softball.
With the misfortune of the shop falling to start this year, the end of 2020 didn’t go as planned for Grubb, either.
In November, his work trailer was stolen from the shop site, and he was told by Clallam County Sheriff’s deputies that it was found up Blue Mountain Road stripped of all his tools and a fire was lit inside a plastic bucket in an attempt to burn it down.
He estimates about $10,000 in tools were stolen. Now he’s using older tools and hand-me-downs from family members.
Waldron hopes the Gofundme can help supplement some of these losses, too, he said.
Grubb said he and his immediate family members also contracted COVID-19, but that thankfully everyone recovered and didn’t require hospitalizations.
Show of support
The goal to build a shop had been in Grubb’s mind for awhile and he had been looking at his current property for about five years before buying it in Dec. 2019 with plans to eventually build a home there, too.
Grubb said he has contractors’ insurance, but that his policy doesn’t cover this kind of incident.
Despite the bad luck, support continues to come in for Grubb from fellow contractors, business people and community members.
Locals have donated money, equipment and time, such as Jeremy Copeland Construction, who brought in a telehandler lift to move the broken trusses out of the shop.
“The contributions have been sizable,” Grubb said.
“People have driven by and just handed me money. An elderly woman I didn’t know stopped by and asked me how she could help. ‘I’m strong,’ she told me. The next day she came back and gave me money.
“It’s really surprising to me. I’m overwhelmed. People have been so fabulous.”
Waldron said when he set up the online fundraiser, he didn’t have any expectations, but people, such as fellow contractors have supported Grubb because “they know the hardship.”
“I’m grateful for all I can get,” Grubb said.
He and family members are tentatively set to start installing new trusses on Feb. 8, Waldron said.