Jeff Jauch grew up with a paintbrush in his hand. As a child, Jauch was always painting and drawing, and his parents provided art tutors to encourage his skills. He continued his love for art in college by studying for a bachelor of fine arts degree with an emphasis in painting. A turning point in Jauch’s life occurred one year during college exams. Jauch worked as a picture framer and asked for exam week off work. The new manager refused the request, so Jauch quit. He immediately went to a friend’s house and asked if he could work for his painting business. The friend hired him on the spot. “I figured if I couldn’t frame art, I would at least still have a brush in my hand. It was just a bigger, different canvas,” he recalled. Jauch even began taking his two-and-a-half inch brushes from work to his canvases at school. “You can do a lot with a big brush. You can do fine things even with something that’s not so fine,” he said.
Jauch continued working for other residential painters, often driving to Holland and beyond for jobs. In 1997 his daughter, Chelsea, was born with Rett syndrome. Rett syndrome is a rare neurological disorder found primarily in girls, which affects
nearly every aspect of the child’s life including the ability to speak, walk, eat, and breathe easily. Jauch knew he needed to stay closer to home. He sought work on his own and connected with a contractor in Grand Rapids who gave Jauch entire painting jobs.
Jauch recalled years when he walked away from his faith. “I know God gave me my daughter, and He knew I was the person to take care of her,” he said. Yet under the stress and strain of her care, Jauch said there were years he didn’t follow his faith well. “At a low point in my life a builder I worked for, a great man and Christian, invited me to take a walk with him. We walked and talked and prayed together, and I recommitted my life to Christ. That builder has blessed me beyond any work he could ever give me.”
Since that time, Jauch has played Christian music on the worksite. He takes opportunities to share the gospel with other contractors he hires, and they share and grow in their faith together. “Sometimes I just can’t believe the blessings that come with it, and knowing where it comes from, and Who brings the work. I thank God every day, and never lose sight of what, at this point, is important,” Jauch said.
Jauch Painting specializes in the finishing details of fine woodwork, particularly for custom cabinets. “If it can be built on site, I can finish it on site,” Jauch explained. He takes joy in the craftsmanship and meticulous work of fine finishes. “One thing I’ve always told myself is when I start my work, it seems like just a house; but when I finish my work it feels like a home with character.” Jauch’s goal is to create a beautiful living space for the homeowner that provides a sense of calm, ease, and comfort.
Jauch is in the process of forming a nonprofit called Running With Chelsea. The organization will assist families with disabled children in gaining access to recreational equipment. Inspired by the father-son running duo of Team Hoyt, Jauch ran while pushing Chelsea in a cart. Chelsea suffered from as many as twenty seizures a day, yet never had a single seizure while being pushed in the cart. Chelsea passed away in May 2013, just days after they completed the Riverbank Run together. Jauch founded Running with Chelsea to honor her legacy and to help other families be active together. Whether providing special needs jogging strollers, bike carts, hiking equipment, or special bikes for others that are more able-bodied, Jauch desires to give families access to equipment that insurance companies often don’t pay for. “If Chelsea was having a bad day, I’d take her for a run and it would calm and relax her. There was that period of time where she was not having seizures, and it was therapy and peace for my own mind too. I want to give other families that opportunity as well,” Jauch explained.
As Jauch looks to the future, he will continue to seek ways to provide calm and comfort for families – whether it’s in the form of fine finishing work in a home, or access to recreational equipment for disabled families.
At a Glance:
Name: Jeff Jauch
Business: Jauch Painting
Family: Wife, Paula; 4 children; 1 grandchild
For more information on Running With Chelsea, please visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Running-With-Chelsea/443158672376212