As we celebrate the Christmas season of giving and goodwill, Langley’s Stephen Tomes takes a moment to reflect on what it means after a tumultuous 12 months.
While we emerged from the worst of the pandemic, 2022 brought environmental worries and inflation uncertainty for families and seniors, not to mention the conflict in Ukraine and other concerns. But that reflection also cements for Tomes the importance of giving back to his community at Christmas and throughout the year – a commitment he’s made throughout his career.
Hailing from London, England, Tomes completed his engineering degree in Dartmouth, N.S., and was working back in England when he had the opportunity to help build the Canadian military base in Kandahar, Afghanistan – efforts that helped him earn his Canadian residency.
Moving here permanently in 2015, today Tomes operates Kingsmere Construction, a licensed contracting company specializing in home renovations and commercial construction throughout the Fraser Valley, and New Trendz Flooring and More, featuring flooring, cabinets, countertops and other essentials. Outfitted with detailed room settings, clients can see everything from kitchen counters and cabinets to innovative under-floor heating options.
Coming from a long line of construction and engineering professionals – his grandfather was a pipefitter and his father a CPA and commercial developer – Tomes understands the importance of giving back both personally and professionally. In addition to volunteering as a director with the Better Business Bureau of Canada, he serves with the Home Inspection Association of BC. And, passionate about green building practices, Tomes works with the province on the BC Step Code, which supports energy-efficient building practices, and is completing a Masters degree through Cambridge University on sustainable building practices.
Beyond his professional contributions, Tomes draws on his faith and personal experiences in his approach to community. As a cancer survivor in his teens, he’s passionate about supporting childhood charities, such as Cops for Cancer, and pays the tuition for two daughters of a Fraser Valley widow, so they can continue to stay in their preferred school.
Reflecting on the kindness received when first arriving in Nova Scotia for school, he continues supporting Lighthouse Ministries, so they can continue helping widows, orphans and at-risk youth.
“I lived there for many years and they helped me a lot when I was just getting going – I just wanted to pay that back,” Tomes says, noting that local initiatives this Christmas include collecting for local seniors in need, and donations to Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse. “We do have a Christian faith, so it’s important to us that a portion of our profits go toward helping people in need. We do as much as we can.”
Tomes also puts this philosophy into practice in his business. Langley’s Kreiter family recalled earlier this year how he made special arrangements so their immune-compromised daughter Erin could visit safely.
“The most amazing thing Stephen did was to close his store an hour early so we could come in, and ask his staff to ensure the whole place was navigable for Erin,” mom Janet recalled, noting Tomes had mapped out the bathtub, sink and other features, learning where Erin’s wheelchair wouldn’t fit and adjustments needed to be made.
Because Erin is also severely immuno-compromised, Tomes worked with staff and trades teams to keep her protected from outside infection as the planning and renovation moves along. “It’s so thoughtful. It takes something as monumental as this renovation and makes it so much easier,” Janet says. “What he is offering in terms of service is one-of-a-kind.”