In June 1971, Chuck Poettker was serving with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam when his platoon hit a booby trap. Three men were killed.
Poettker prayed for deliverance as the enemy closed in on that hilltop. He promised that if he were spared he would devote his life to building something of value.
A helicopter rescued him.
That story came to mind recently when Poettker and his four children, who now run the construction business, were featured in an ad about why it is a good thing to live and work in the metro-east. The ad detailed how the company grew from Poettker building a house for a friend in 1980 to being the contractor and construction manager for Walmart, Ameren, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Menards and more than 25 schools and in multiple states.
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It stated his company in the past few years raised $80,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwestern Illinois. They support the Boy Scouts and foster that spirit of giving among their employees, making their Christmas party a time to donate for needy families.
It is a similar inspiration that drives Bret Garrett, founder of Remy Black Coffee. Garrett’s life was not at risk, but a mission trip showed him others that were after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He donates part of his profit to the rebuilding effort.
“You have to work with purpose,” he said.
Neither man learned that in business school, but it sure seems like a lesson worth teaching.