Building dreams for others
by Sally Pfeffer
Front row: Gina Tebbe, Barbara Tebbe, Sally Pfeffer. Second row: Robbie Speer, Sean Tebbe, Pete LaCock, Brian Mertz. Back row: Eddie Johnston, Rick Holtcamp.
It's been a whirlwind decade of growth for S & T Enterprises of Blue Springs, Mo. catapulting the home building company to the top ranks of Kansas City business including being named to Ingram's Corporate Report 100. S & T is about building dreams for others. So when one company co-founder, Robbie Speer was diagnosed with bone cancer, the company rolled up their sleeves like so many times before when times get tough, and, they got to work. But this time revenue being generated is being churned to help others. That is the entire focus of the first annual S & T Golf Tournament set for July 13, 2004 at The Country Club of Blue Springs.
Plans flew into action quickly when the team of Speer and his partner Sean Tebbe decided to host the golf tournament. That was in January of 2004. The two enlisted former Royals player Pete LaCock who's known charitable giving and golf tournaments with his father Peter Marshall, former host of Hollywood Squares. LaCock and his father were instrumental in building Kansas City's Ronald McDonald houses in the late 70's early 80's. LaCock's charitable giving dates back to his days as a young ball player for the Chicago Cubs. It wasn't until he arrived in Kansas City did he see the devastation of cancer's youngest victims--the children dying at Children's Mercy Hospital.
"I left there day after day breaking down saying I'll never go back," he said. "Then I found myself there the next day and the next. There is a big place in my heart for the Ronald McDonald houses, the Heart Association and the Leukemia Society." Royals All Star shortstop Fred Patek has also lent his name and time to the S & T outing.
For Speer, 35 who has two healthy children ages 2 and 4 and another child due in October, the meaning of life has changed dramatically. Gone is the stress and toil of 14 hour a plus work days. Speer works everyday, but in a different fashion.
"When you are faced with a life threatening deal it changes the focus of your life quickly," said Speer. "All the time you are growing up you think that you can't have enough money. But what I've discovered through all of this is that life really isn't about that. It's about friends and family."
Speer is stricken with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer that affects plasma cells, white blood cells found in many body tissues but primarily in the bone marrow. When plasma cells become malignant, they grow continuously and destroy normal bone tissue in the marrow, causing pain and inhibiting normal blood cell production. There is no cure for multiple myeloma. The goal is to achieve lengthy remissions. Speer is being treated at the Myeloma Institute for Research & Therapy in Little Rock, Ark. He travels there every month for a week to receive a battery of blood tests, bone marrow checks, cat scans and MRI's. And, will do so for the next five years.
"What I didn't realize is that all procedures are done when you are awake," he said. "Just imagine being a child and having leukemia. These procedures, especially the bone marrow transplants are very painful. I can't believe children have the strength to go through the same regimen as I do." Speer said he and Tebbe wanted to give back to ill children. That is why they chose the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and The Dream Factory as tournament beneficiaries.
"I feel that we have been blessed and it is our duty to give back to the community and to charity," Sean Tebbe said. "What I would like people to know most about us is that we don't just build dreams for people we also give back. I'd personally like to thank all of our corporate sponsors of the tournament. Many of these people are our vendors and it means a lot to us."
"When Rob was diagnosed, it was disbelief," Tebbe said. "But, we have great employees who have risen to the challenge. Through their hard work and prayer, our company remains strong, focused and determined." To pledge support, reserve your position in the tournament or to learn more, call Barbara Tebbe at 816.229.8262