fbpx vie magazine subscribe button

Building Hope

Changing the World for the Better

By Jordan Staggs  |  Photography courtesy of Grand Bay Construction

Creating exceptional homes is nothing new for Chris Burch. His dream to build things started when he was a boy and grew through the years until he formed his own company, Grand Bay Construction in Grayton Beach, Florida, which he launched in 2005 with financial partner Ed Lewis. His projects over the past thirteen years have spanned from one-car garages to multimillion-dollar beachfront homes designed by prominent architects.

But it’s the projects that stem from Burch’s heart of gold that are truly exceptional—shelters and orphanages, family homes, churches, medical clinics, community centers, and more—many in impoverished areas of Central and South America, Africa, and the Caribbean islands. Through partnerships with Atlanta–based Third Lens Ministries and other organizations, Burch’s buildings have helped people across the globe. His latest endeavor for good was a little closer to home.

Burch first connected with World Changers, a Nashville–based branch of Lifeway Christian Resources that plans youth mission trips around the United States and abroad, in 2007 after tropical storm Olga decimated parts of Puerto Rico. World Changers works with construction professionals such as Burch to help rebuild and improve dilapidated neighborhoods by bringing teams of high-school and college students from various states to help with the process. This July 9–13, Burch spearheaded the second World Changers retreat in Panama City, Florida, to help citizens in the city’s Millville and Glenwood neighborhoods.

Through World Changers, high school and college students can travel across the United States and abroad while helping repair homes for those in need.

“We worked with the local community redevelopment agency in Panama City, particularly with people living in Millville and Glenwood, to identify homes that needed repairs,” Burch explains. “Anyone in those neighborhoods can apply for the program, and there’s no cost to the homeowners.”

World Changers partnered with First Baptist Church of Panama City to bring in over three hundred students from fourteen other churches across eleven states for the 2018 project. “We went in and built wheelchair ramps, placed new siding, painted, replaced concrete sidewalks, did yard work, even gave a dog a bath—anything the kids could help with,” says Burch.

They worked on thirty-eight homes in four days.

A woman’s bathroom floor had been falling in for years, her tub practically hanging down through it; the World Changers came to the rescue, and she now has a working toilet in her home. Another woman had no air conditioning for ten years and can now relax, sheltered from the sweltering Florida summer. The team even demolished a collapsed shed in one homeowner’s backyard which had been the only thing impeding the family from getting approved for home insurance.

Burch had met one of the homeowners on a fateful encounter while he was in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. “She was sitting there, and out of the blue, she said, mostly to herself, ‘I wish I had someone to help fix my house up,’” Burch recalls. “I looked at her and told her I was a builder, and we got to talking. I asked if she happened to live in Millville or Glenwood, and she said her home was in Millville. It’s kind of crazy, like it was meant to be. We were able to go in with World Changers and help her and two of her relatives. Later she left me the nicest voicemail thanking us for all the work done on her house and raving about how much she loved the kids. Being able to help people is fulfilling; I just enjoy doing it. I feel like I get more in return than anything that I may be trying to contribute; getting to know new people and hearing their stories is a true blessing.”

One of the best things about the World Changers project is how it impacts the whole community, Burch explains. Frequently, once improvements are made to a house, the neighbors are inspired to do the same to their own homes and yards. “It’s like a wildfire breaks out, and the whole street starts looking better by the end of the week.”

In early 2019, Grand Bay Construction will open its second location. The mountain scenery and grand lake homes around Clayton, Georgia, present new and exciting opportunities for Burch and his team, who will still maintain their office in Grayton Beach, Florida.

Fresh off the World Changers repair week, Burch is back at work creating homes along the Gulf Coast; but he’s also looking to the future. In addition to planning another World Changers week for 2019, Grand Bay Construction will be expanding early next year as it opens a new location in Clayton, Georgia, headed up by Matt Ellington, who has worked with Burch since 2010.

“It’s a great location for us to open up, with so many beautiful large mountain and lake homes in the area, and being conveniently located to Atlanta and other metro areas,” Burch says. “Matt’s been a key part of this team for eight years and he’s going to do a great job.”

There’s no doubt that whether they’re helping someone with a basic need or building a beachfront mansion, Chris Burch and his team at Grand Bay Construction confront each project with a tremendous amount of heart and soul.

— V —



Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine January 2021 Special Commemorative Edition
VIE Magazine September 2020 Wanderlust Issue, Fancy Camps, The Idea Boutique
VIE Magazine August 2020 Art & Culture Issue, Nathan Alan Yoakum Art
VIE Magazine - Architecture & Design Issue - July 2020
VIE Magazine - Decor and Home Issue - June 2020
VIE Magazine May 2020 Entertainment Issue, Leslie Odom Jr
VIE Magazine - April 2020 Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine March 2020 The Fashion Edit, VONDOM, Alys Beach Fl, Digital Graffiti, Tres Chic, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, Digital Graffiti Festival
VIE Magazine February 2020 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Travel Issue - January 2020 - Tanzania Safari Cover
VIE Magazine - Women's Issue - December 2019 - Tina Brown Cover
VIE NOV19 Goodness Issue
VIE Magazine, September 2019 Art & Culture Issue, Paul Hanninen
VIE Magazine - August 2019 - The Architecture and Design Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2019 - The Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - June 2019 - Fashion Edit
VIE Magazine - May 2019 - Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine - April 2019 - The Health & Wellness Issue
VIE Magazine - Special Entertainment Edition - March 2019
VIE Magazine February 2019 Luxury Homes & Technology Issue with Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
VIE Magazine - January 2019 - Southern Sophisticate Issue Cover
VIE Magazine - Special Anniversary Travel Edition - December 2018
VIE Magazine - The Goodness Issue - November 2018
VIE Magazine - The Art & Culture Issue - October 2018
VIE Magazine - Home & Garden Issue - September 2018
VIE Magazine - August 2018 Animal Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2018 Architecture & Design Issue - Subscribe to the magazine!
VIE Magazine - June 2018 Travel & Tech Issue
VIE Magazine - May 2018 Couture Issue
VIE Magazine - The Culinary Issue - April 2018 Cover - Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
VIE Magazine - The Entertainers Issue - March 2018
VIE Magazine - February 2018 Destination Travel Issue
VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail