Concrete expert measures success by giving
by Nick McLain
Rod Vore, owner of highly rated Rod's Quality Concrete Inc. in Greenwood, does more than just build free handicapped ramps for special needs children — he gives each of them a sense of independence.
"Words could not describe how thankful I am for the ramp," says 13-year-old Meghan Schneider, who received one of Vore's ramps last summer at her Indianapolis home.
Born with cerebral palsy, she says the ramp that extends from her home to the street allows her to get on the school bus on her own.
"You have no idea how much easier my life is now," Schneider says.
Vore, who customizes the ramps with 6-inch raised curbing on the sides to prevent tipovers, says he's built the ramps — which typically cost $3,000 to $5,000 — for six children in Indiana.
"It's a good feeling, but that's not why I do it," he says. "It's a hand up, not a handout. They don't want you to feel sorry for them. They are positive and motivated."
Shelby Materials and Jobsite Supply, both in Indianapolis and not yet rated on Angie's List, donate the concrete and rebar that Vore uses to construct the ramps. Vore began donating his labor after Jobsite Supply owner Pete Molloy asked him to build a ramp for his daughter, Anna, in 2004.
"It's the quality and craftsmanship of his work," Molloy says. "Rod puts in extra steel reinforcement to hold the ramp together and uses better concrete so it doesn't crack."
Molloy's request turned into an ongoing commitment by Vore, who builds the free ramps for children identified through Anna's Celebration of Life Foundation. The foundation was named in honor of Molloy's 12-year-old daughter, who died in July 2008 after being born with a genetic disorder causing dwarfism.
The ramps, which take about two days to construct, are one of many type of gifts granted through the foundation. It has also provided specialty dogs, automatic doors, stairlifts, specialized bikes and hearing equipment to children.
"We all feel like this is what we're supposed to be doing," Molloy says. "We're very blessed, and we want to pay it forward."
And Vore's generous nature and get-it-done attitude are a perfect fit, says Billy Kirkby, Shelby Materials' outside sales executive. "Rod makes it happen," he says. "He's a very giving person, and not just with concrete. He cares, and it's out of the kindness of his heart."
Vore, 53, says he dropped out of high school as a sophomore to take care of his siblings after their mother died, and he later founded the concrete company in 1988.
"The thing I enjoy most is the satisfaction I get from pleasing people," he says. "I believe in doing everything with integrity. If your work is no good, you're no good."
Angie's List member John Schlechte, who hired Vore to update his front door landing, steps and porch, can attest that his work is excellent.
"He's fabulous," Schlechte says. "I think he got about three or four other jobs on our street after doing ours — it was just that great."
Vore's eight-man company exceeded $1 million in revenue last year, but he doesn't measure success monetarily. "You measure it by the size of your heart, not your billfold," he says.