Thomas Joseph II Granson is a former fire captain who served the public for more than a decade. As a captain, he was responsible with the supervision of the daily operation and the training of the fire brigade. Granson was also a certified Hazmat Technician, Rope Rescue Technician, and Vehicle Extrication Technician. Technician level is the highest level in these different discipline trainings. Prior to joining the fire service, Granson studied a few years in criminal justice and business management.
When he was still in the fire department, he never failed to support his community. His pay was not for himself alone as he pledged $2.00 per check to United Way. He also donated a number of things to Goodwill. Moreover, Granson spared some time for autistic kids and for a couple 5k charity runs.
Likewise, Granson had contributed to his church by donating weekly to St Joan of Arc Catholic Church. In the past, he once served as the Lay Director for Christ Renews His Parish, a weekend retreat for Catholic men.
As Granson is a sport enthusiast, he did not hesitate to volunteer as a coach for the YMCA youth sports and for local recreational leagues. Besides that, Granson and his workers showed their support to UCT Youth Baseball League by voluntarily painting the UCT park baseball field.
While in the fire service, Granson started his own concrete floor coating business, Tj’s Painting and Epoxy. Unlike other businesses in the same field, Granson did not just master epoxy floor applications. He and his workers learned as well the craft of hybrid floor applications and polished concrete finishes. The business was a success, but Granson would have to eventually give it up because of personal circumstances.
At present, he is the devoted homemaker of their household. His past mistakes and failures led him to this wondrous world of parenting, learning what life is truly about. With each passing day, he is now being blessed with the happiness of watching his children grow and excel in both academics and sports. And with wisdom gained from experience, his marriage has never been better.
Growing up, how did you imagine life would be like for you?
I was raised in a very religious family, and I served for the Knights of Colombus. I was raised and taught to always give back when possible, hence my charities and donations. I wanted to have a criminal justice degree but ended up in the business management program. I was a consistent Dean’s lister. I never considered entering the firefighting field until I realized it provides great benefits and a secure employment, aside from considering being the third generation firefighter in the family. I’ve established my paint and epoxy business that I didn’t imagine to become very successful in no time. I’ve had my fair share of mistakes, failures, and disappointments. Life has been a roller-coaster, and looking back I realize that TJ Granson II would never be the TJ Granson II he is now without all these, and I’m grateful that God never left me, and I pray that He always guides and continue to bless me and my family.
How long did it take for TJ’s Paint and Epoxy to become profitable?
You know, it was just a small town and I didn’t know that it’s gonna get a lot of attention and trust in just, I think just five months? In that five months, it was already thriving, so I gradually added people to help me in the business.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle?
Well yes, definitely. I did not know a lot about epoxy. My dad and I had done a few floors, but nothing professional. So what I did was I enrolled to multiple classes to learn more about epoxy. I went to Chicago to learn the field of concrete floor liquid coatings. And I guess that worked. I applied everything I learned and continued with my business, and it was successful.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make so far?
Wow, there’s a lot in my mind right now. My older self wishes I would’ve pursued baseball more aggressively and maturely; I had college verbal offers before I was a senior. But having divorced parents, no one ever made me realize how blessed I was in the athletic field, so I didn’t get to pursue college sports. But looking back, I’m glad I didn’t because I never would’ve met my wonderful wife if I did. Another I think, it would be the decision to stay at home, full-time, and look after my kids. As you know, I worked hard to be the fire department captain. Although this accomplishment may not be my greatest career accomplishment, but it was the most joyful career accomplishment because my grandfather had passed away a few years prior, and I know he was smiling down from heaven the day I received my captain’s bars. Also, my business was successful, but everything’s just consumed my time and I needed more for my family. So, I got to do what I got to do. My wife’s a travel nurse and we have 5 amazing kids, so I had to make a decision and that’s to spend time with my kids, my family. And I loved it!
What has been the most satisfying moment in your life?
You know, in everything that I do, I make sure it is something worth doing. I have seen the impact of my donations and charities to people, I witnessed how my family was over the moon when I got my captain bars, I watched how I have conquered mountains and became successful in everything I have done, but nothing really compares to taking care of my kids and watch them grow and learn with me by their side. It’s heartbreaking that we don’t often get to spend time with Abby [my wife], but I am just happy that at the end of it all, it is still family that matters. I learned what life is truly about. Family, love, peace, solitude, charity, faith, etc. I feel blessed to learn all this at a younger age. I’m a better man because of what I’ve went through and how I responded.
How is it now that you’re living differently as you’ve planned?
No one thought that a virus could change the world, at least this soon. It’s something nobody prepared for. One day you’re at the beach enjoying the sun, the next you’re stuck at home just looking out the window. I was once a captain of the fire department and a full-time business owner, now I’m a full-time stay-at-home dad. But I don’t regret anything. Being a chef, a teacher, a coach, and most especially a father to my kids is the best thing I could always thank God for.
What does the future hold for T.J Granson II?
These dramatic changes in life led us to questioning where we wanted to live. As a travel nurse Abby could transfer anywhere and I could pick up jobs here and there as needed while the kids were in school full time. Our kids are now 12, 9, 8, 6, and 4. Our 4 year-old starts full time school this year, which allows me to make money doing side jobs while they’re all in school.
We picked Spanish Fort, AL to relocate our family to. The public schools are highly ranked, the weather is great, the city is on the bay, and the beach is 50 minutes from our home. We made the choice to build a home. We sold our home in Indiana and are giving one possession September 1st. Our home in Alabama will be finished by September 1st and our lives will get a new beginning and a fresh start somewhere new. We’re all excited and nervous. Last week, I officially resigned from the fire department and our family is moving states. I just hope and pray that with this new beginning, we’ll get to rediscover life’s beauty. I’m still young and have so much life ahead of me.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
That everything happens for a reason. You may commit mistakes, trip on frustrations, get disappointed, feel the happiest, cry in joy, grieve in solitude— these are all what makes you human. I’m in a much better place now. My kids are all doing fantastic in academics and sports. And my marriage is better than ever. Just always bear in mind and in heart that you are not alone in your journey, never. Surrender everything to God and everything will fall exactly in place.