CategoriesCommunity Involvement

Stockton Rescue Mission’s ‘New Life Program’ Commencement Speech by Phyllis Grupe

JULY 11, 2021

Welcome and congratulations to the New Life Graduates, families, and future graduates. 

Thank you, Quail Lakes Baptist Church (my old stomping ground – as you have heard).

Thank you to Wayne and Carol Richardson, and Britten – all the heroes who live and breathe the Gospel Rescue Center. 

Thank you, Dennis, for your kind introduction. Dennis, you have been boots on the ground long before the public, the politicians, and the front page of the newspapers paid attention to the broken hearts and lives and the plight of the homeless. 

Dennis & my relationship goes back about 50 years to the “Pass it on Choir.” The kids wanted to call it “Grupe’s Groupies,” but somehow, I didn’t think that would sit well with the parents and the pastor, so we opted for the song that became our symbol, “Pass it on.”

Words to Pass it On:

It only takes a spark to get a fire going, 

But soon all those around will warm up with its glowing. 

That’s how it is with God’s love, once you experience it, 

You want to sing, its fresh like spring, you want to pass it on! 

And here we are today! A very special day! It’s all about you graduates and those who love you!! Believe me; they are experiencing the same excitement you are – what you have done for yourself, you have also done for them! There are a lot of answered prayers in this room!! 

You are graduation from the three phases of the New Life Program. At a minimum of two years of commitment and hard work. You have made choices that others only wish they had the courage to make. Keep on the narrow path you have chosen. You cannot walk down two trails at the same time. Stay on your path with all your strength and energy remembering to call on the power of God “Fear not, I will always be with you!” 

As you walk along your path, each day will bring new challenges and choices. 

Your thoughts lead to choices

Your choices lead to actions 

Your actions can lead to a miracle 

Yes – your actions can be a miracle, and that is what I’d like to share with you today. First, I’d like to share with you the true story of a real miracle worker. Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa story: 

I was fortunate to attend an outstanding meeting in India where Mother Teresa was the Keynote Speaker. At the end of her incredible story, she opened the session to questions. A woman asked, “Mother Teresa, how is it such a simple nun who has taken the vows of poverty has been able to do so many great things?” Mother Teresa answered, “Oh my dear, there are very few great things, mostly only small things done with great love!!”

SMALL THINGS DONE WITH GREAT LOVE – that is the story of Mother Teresa. 

You, too, can be a miracle; Here are four ways you can become someone’s miracle. 

Miracle #1 – 

Smile – 

We all have many seemingly trivial chances of meetings that present us with a choice. Do we pass along the spark of hope in a smile or not? This is your invitation to perform a simple act of love – a little spark of hope and humanity in what otherwise might be a very difficult, sad day in someone’s life. Give the miracle of your smile! 

Miracle #2 – 

Encourage, hope, and dream – 

What gives us the courage to live, change and move forward with life? Hope!

Hope is based on faith and positive actions. 

In my life, it has been my cheerleaders who have brought out the best in me and helped me move forward in a positive way. It’s the folks who have been in my balcony cheering me on and encouraging me. Basement people and negative voices bring us down. Let the power of God work within you – this power enables us to do far more than we could ever imagine doing alone. Encourage others to reach their dreams as well. Hope gives us the courage to live, change and move forward with life – no matter the circumstances. Encourage others, give them hope!

Miracle #3 – 

Gratitude – 

Give gratitude to all who help – be a compassionate warrior who gives love and kindness and helps others face and solve their problems. 

A simple thanks with love and enthusiasm can work miracles. We all thrive with gratitude. It’s like water on a wilting plant on a roasting hot day. Give thanks to friends, family, co-workers, teachers, pastors, and service providers of all types. A simple word of thanks costs nothing, yet it is a precious gift and it can be the miracle you perform in someone else’s life. Give thanks! 

Miracle #4 

Have compassion – 

Look for the good in others. If not for them, do it for yourself! Did you know aging actually slows down, and your immune system is boosted when you do a kind deed or are compassionate to one another? The burning question is, “will you take advantage of other’s weaknesses, frailties, or faults, or will you share the miracle of compassion and support them?”

 Let me share with you a profound story of compassion. The story told by a father of his child – a developmentally and physically challenged boy who receives the gift of compassion. 

Shay’s Story: 

“Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’ I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father, I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps. 

“I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs, and the game is in the eight inning. I guess he can be on our team, and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’ 

“Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted. 

“In the bottom of the eight inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. 

“In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and prayed in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands. 

“In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again. Now with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. 

“However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognized that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. 

“The first pitch came, and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back at the pitcher. 

“The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out, and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all teammates. 

“Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first!’

“Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. 

“Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’ 

“Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second”, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. 

“By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team who had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third baseman’s head. 

“Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the way Shay!’ 

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third!’

“As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and spectators were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’ 

“Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.” 

“That day,” said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, “the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world.”

Be someone’s miracle – be compassionate 

Be someone’s miracle – 

    1. Smile 
    2. Help others reach their dreams 
    3. Give Gratitude 
    4. Have Compassion 

Wrap these four gifts in love and tie them with a ribbon of kindness. Choose to smile, choose to dream, give thanks, and have compassion. 

Christ said, “Love one another as I have loved you!” 

As I close, I encourage you – 

Be someone’s miracle – start right now. The job will never be finished. You cannot change the world, but you can touch your little corner of the world one person – one miracle at a time! Remember – you cannot outgive God! 

Let us pray: 

May God bless you and keep you. May you love the Lord with all your heart, mind, and soul. May you go forward in your life and perform these miracles as God has performed a miracle in you. 

Amen and Congratulations, Graduates!! 

Thoughts inspired by “Be Someone’s Miracle” by John Shimer. 

Picture of Grupe Huber official building

Hybrid Offices: Building a Remarkable HQ

Picture of Grupe Huber official building

Hybrid Offices: Building a Remarkable HQ

August 3, 2021

Hybrid offices are on the rise, offering the chance for on-site or remote work to their workforce. After a year of remote work for many, the struggle to find a comfortable transition has led many businesses to opt for the flexibility of both options or a mix of the two for their team. If headquarters has become the place for in-person client meetings and team get-togethers, it only makes sense that a team’s homebase needs to be an environment where community, unity, and inspiration are felt. For instance, Grupe Huber Company has been a pioneer in the Stockton community, moving our headquarters from a traditional office “A” class space to a historic remodel in our signature redevelopment project, University Park.

This past year has brought on significant changes in the way people approach their work environment. A recent report from Accenture cited that 83% of workers they surveyed preferred a hybrid model.1 High-growth organizations have taken note with 63% of them enabling productivity anywhere workforce models.2 As the popularity of hybrid offices continues to rise, it becomes increasingly important to invest in spaces that will captivate the team when they come together and facilitate in-person collaboration that is essential to the success of every business. The need for office space is not going away, in fact, it is now an even more critical piece to establishing company culture, workforce engagement, and increasing productivity. “While some level of remote working is going to remain with us, the best future innovation and products will come from the teamwork and collaboration that is derived from face-to-face teamwork with colleagues,” stated Kevin Huber, President and CEO of Grupe Huber Company. New office projects focus on creating a sense of openness, a place that invites teams to congregate while also maintaining more private spaces for individual work.

The days of big walls and siloed cubicles are long behind us. Amenities are an important factor when recruiting new talent, because companies are expected to contribute to larger lifestyle aspirations in order to stay competitive. A headquarters should offer a standard slate of amenities including a modern but functional kitchen, warm common areas, fun break out spaces, and more. It’s essential to provide amenities that are functional, yet aspirational for workers and tailored to the overall company culture. Just as a medical office prioritizes patients, a tech company prioritizes innovation so each of those office spaces needs to reflect the business’ mission and values accordingly. It’s also a chance for the company to show some personality. The Grupe Huber headquarters located at University Park does just that, balancing modern design and layout with archival pieces that nod to tradition and legacy. The right amenities help to establish a healthy and engaging work environment that encourages workers to feel invested, and pay forward that investment with their dedication to the work.

A historic remodel property offers a great approach for building a headquarters that is modern and forward-thinking, while maintaining the history and character of the community – a truly unique office. In a Capital One workplace survey, 79% of full-time office employees agreed that a company cannot encourage innovation unless their workplace environment is innovative, and bringing a fresh perspective to an existing space can help build that foundation.3 Workers want to feel like the place where they work with their team and achieve their goals is special. It is impossible to replicate authenticity, you have to build it from the ground up.

Revamping a historically significant building is also an incredibly effective way to show respect for tradition and signal a long term investment in the community. Oftentimes, historic buildings that are optimal for a remodel are located in areas that have been somewhat overlooked by the surrounding community and are in need of something new. A historic remodel can serve as a new hub for continued investment, bringing new businesses, jobs, and foot traffic that can revitalize an entire neighborhood. It is important to consider the history of the land, its existing tenants, and the overarching needs of the community in order to make a historic remodel successful. Grupe Huber’s University Park, a momentous, 20 year remodel project, brought over 20 new and thriving businesses to a site that dates back to the 1850’s. An era when, following the Gold Rush, Captain Charles Weber donated 102 acres of land to the city of Stockton to provide hospital care to those who were struggling with mental illness. “By marrying modern technology and design with public artwork, a world-class rose garden, historic features and a contiguous 102 acre campus, we have been able to create a truly special place where people work, learn, heal, and play” commented Mr. Huber. University Park doesn’t shy away from history, it’s an integral part of the project’s mission.

A remarkable headquarters is essential to building a successful business and Grupe Huber approaches each project with a deep understanding of how physical space can impact people. We approach every project with fresh eyes and a modern point of view, understanding that as the workforce continues to move to the future, we are here to help build it. We are developers who partner in every step of the process, committed to shaping spaces that reflect your business’ story.






Beyond the Blueprint