Mohammed Ali, a humanitarian, heroic and three-time world heavyweight champion, once said, “Serving others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” Ali’s legacy is that of the People’s Master, revered for his achievements in the ring and loved around the world for his sharp wit and big heart.
David Edwards also enjoys a challenge and the chance to give something back. A co-owner of Edwards Concrete Bomanite in Winter Garden, Florida, Edwards has been in the concrete business for more than 40 years. His company specializes in decorative concrete applications and between the heat and humidity and the often difficult soil conditions in Florida, every job his company does seems to have some challenges.
Edwards Concrete Bomanite“We make punched concrete, exposed concrete, polished, colored and stained concrete,” says Edwards, who has been a Bomanite licensed contractor since 1989. His team of around 25 has been developing decorative concrete solutions across central Florida for theme parks, commercial contractors and public institutions of all types and sizes for four decades. “We don’t shy away from difficult jobs, and although I wear a lot of hats, I enjoy getting into the design side of the job.”
Overcoming COVID-19 in a beautiful way
When COVID-19 shattered the feeling of normalcy in the world in early 2020, Edwards was inspired to make a meaningful contribution to his community and quickly used his team’s talents to bring a little happiness into the lives of others.
“My wife and I grew up in Ocoee, Florida and have lived here our entire lives,” says Edwards. “When the pandemic broke out, we wanted to do something for the local health workers who are putting their lives at risk for the people in this community.”
Edwards first reached out to Mayor Rusty Johnson about a fundraising project he had planned for Orlando Health – Central Hospital in Ocoee, Florida. After the seed was planted, Edwards and his team quickly devised a way to liven up the building’s entrance with a decorative token of appreciation. In a group campaign, Edwards secured material donations from its long-standing local suppliers of ready-mixed concrete, lumber and metalwork in order to put together the necessary resources.
The result is a beautiful terraced garden next to the entrance of the building’s staff, where health care workers can enjoy a moment of relaxation from the rigors inside. A bold blue heart made of bomanite exposed concrete with a glass look is surrounded by Portland cement blocks, which are studded with flakes of mother-of-pearl and granite made of white chips. Strips of artificial turf segment the concrete sections to make the entire patio a refreshing, vibrant splash of color that offers hospital health care workers a warm welcome and a quiet break.
Edwards Concrete Bomanite
“We really appreciate the health care workers at the forefront of this pandemic,” says Edwards with genuine satisfaction. “This rest area should help you replenish yourself amid the stress and challenges of your job. We were fortunate enough to be seen as a vital service in the early stages of the pandemic and wanted to show our support for healthcare workers and our community. “
A worthy thing
Tyler Balch is the second generation owner of Texas Bomanite in Dallas.
“Since the company was founded in 1987, it has been one of our core beliefs to give back to the community we serve,” says Balch of the company’s operational foundation. Texas Bomanite employs nearly 100 people and carries out commercial architectural concrete projects in most of Texas from offices in Dallas and Austin. When the company was approached about a small but significant project of polished concrete for the American Fallen Soldiers Project in Addison, Texas, Balch knew immediately that their cause was worth a charitable review.
Texas BomaniteThe American Fallen Soldiers Project, a 501c3 non-profit, honors and commemorates members of the American military who have made the ultimate sacrifice with an original, hand-painted portrait of the fallen presented to their families. Each portrait was designed by artist Phil Taylor to offer a little token of comfort and compassion to Gold Star Families in their time of loss. When the organization rented a new office and gallery in a suburban office park and inquired about a polished concrete floor, Texas Bomanite decided to do so at a discount.
“They wanted a polished concrete floor with a black orchid dye to give the room a very high-quality, museum-quality feel,” says Balch, explaining the scope of the work. “The condition of the existing concrete slab required a lot of patching and sanding to prepare the floor to be polished. We felt this was a reason we would be proud of and donated time and materials, which is roughly 28% of the total cost. With Bomanite you get the best of the best. When you make this an affordable option for a very worthy recipient, everyone involved will feel fantastic. “
Make a dream come true
In Aurora, Colorado Bomanite-licensed contractor Colorado Hardscapes sponsored a different kind of wellness project. Founded in 1947, Colorado Hardscapes has been the leading decorative concrete company in Front Range Colorado since the beginning of the industry. When they heard about the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s local efforts to build a local sensory garden and playground for a 7-year-old boy, Colorado hardscapes jumped on board.
“The City of Aurora has partnered with the Make a Wish Foundation and many others to develop a fully accessible, sensory focus playground in Red-Tailed Hawk Park near the children’s home. We knew straight away that we wanted to take part, ”says project manager Christy Bol. The child’s desire was just to go to the park to play and laugh with other children, and making that dream come true has been a joy and honor for everyone involved.
The 8,000 SF site has a sensory wall made up of a tactile composition of shapes, textures and colors, a wavy walk that moves like a roller coaster, as well as swings, spinners and slides of various kinds. A bomanite micro-top became used to pop the sensory wall with paint while a bomanite texture mat added a high touch surface to the rising wall. Bomanite Con-Color was also used to color the concrete and add a whimsical touch to flat work surfaces.
“We donated the materials and manpower to do the swell and the stained concrete design throughout the park, and we made the living, textured seat wall at cost,” says Bol. “We were also able to receive a donation from our concrete supplier Aggregate Industries for all of the concrete that we installed.”
In addition to giving back, Bol shares that the project drawn on the artistic skills of Colorado Hardscapes. “In the beginning there was only a sketch, so our team had to be creative to design the pieces and pieces of this unique wall of minds.”
From functional to fantastic, these projects explore the many interesting and innovative possibilities in the world of decorative concrete while highlighting a common connection between Bomanite’s nationwide network of licensed contractors.
“From our point of view, we feel blessed to be part of this great community improvement project,” says Bol. “Charitable giving is a great way to give back and show our commitment to the people and places our projects serve in a lasting and meaningful way.”