The concrete industry is intensely competitive and bottom-line driven, but it has also always had a softer side. Many contractors and design firms donate significant time and money each year to worthy causes, but few have dedicated their lives to helping others like Mike Murray has with Concrete Cares. This organization has raised and donated thousands of dollars over the past four years to help people with cancer.
Four years ago, Murray was running Murray Decorative Concrete Supply in Kansas. When a friend’s wife was beset with breast cancer, he placed a pink concrete slab to raise awareness. “I thought, it can’t be that hard to place pink concrete,” he says. “We’ve screwed up enough red concrete over the years that ended up pink.” He followed that with getting pink concrete placed in all 50 states and volunteered to provide color for anyone placing pink concrete.
“We started with bigger projects,” he says, “but have moved more to smaller stuff like tables and our concrete heart necklaces to raise money for those impacted by cancer. We have helped people who don’t even have gas money to go see their relatives during treatment. There’s a lot of need out there, but all problems are made to be solved.”
He started in the concrete business when his family’s farm went bankrupt in the 1960s. “In the 1980s, I started Murray Decorative Concrete Supply. but I wanted to make a difference.” Rather than just selling products, he invited prominent concrete people to Kansas to give seminars. “We wanted to help local contractors make their stamping jobs look better.”
In 2014, Murray sold his company and moved to Arkansas where he works full time on Concrete Cares. At 2016 World of Concrete he’ll place pink concrete in the OPCMIA booth in the Silver Lot and give away 10,000 heart necklaces. “We’ve set the goal of raising $10,000 at WOC which we’ll donate to a children’s cancer center,” he says,
Murray hopes that Concrete Cares continues its mission long into the future. “I just hate this disease,” he says. “When they throw that last shovel of dirt on me, I think cancer is going to know that I went a few rounds with it and that I punched it in the nose and drew blood.”