Gleam cleans homes for cancer patients

As summer fades into fall, teachers, staff, and students return to classrooms across Middle Georgia, families across the region are gearing up for hectic schedules of car pool, homework, and extracurricular activities. Before long, the rainy summer of 2018 will be behind us all, and the holidays will be looming ahead of us.

Let’s face it – we’re all hurtling headlong into the busiest time of the year. Finding time to clean up between our busy weekday schedules and fall weekend events is tough. But for one company in Middle Georgia, cleaning up is business as usual.

David and Tonya Gentle of Gleam Cleaning Pros
David and Tonya Gentle, owners of Gleam Cleaning Pros. Photo courtesy David Gentle.

Forsyth-based Gleam Cleaning Pros have been providing excellent cleaning services to individuals and businesses all across Middle Georgia since 2009. Owners Tonya and David Gentle have grown their company from a handful of employees and family members to a staff of 15 professional cleaners and five service vehicles. They offer services including residential and business cleaning, pressure washing, and window washing to clients in Bibb, Monroe, Lamar, Butts, and Henry counties. To date, their client base consists of 200 regular customers, including 23 commercial accounts.

David and Tonya’s leadership is what sets Gleam Cleaning Pros apart from other cleaning services. Despite the size of their company, both of the husband and wife duo still spend time in the field, power washing, window cleaning, and training their employees. They also have a heart for service to the community.

Gleam Cleaning Pros have been offering free residential cleaning services to women undergoing cancer treatment since 2012. Through their partnership with Cleaning for a Reason, a national non-profit organization, women undergoing treatment for any form of cancer can receive two free housecleaning visits from Gleam Cleaning Pros.

In 2016, the Gleam Cleaning Pros expanded their volunteer cleaning services for families affected by a cancer diagnosis, beyond Cleaning for a Reason. “We are going a step further,” explains David, “and offering it for anyone with cancer, and to the parents of children with cancer.”

The services include cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms, vacuuming, and dusting.

For families struggling with the physical, emotional, and financial burdens of cancer treatment, the program is a blessing, but for Gleam Cleaning Pros, it is just another way to be a part of people’s lives and leave their mark on the world.

“I think when you have the chance and the ability to help, you should,” says David. “I am so thankful that as our business has grown, it is not just about money. How awesome is it that we get to help others together? I wouldn’t have it any other way,” he concludes.

Tonya started out cleaning windows for storefronts in 2004: “I have always loved the way windows look right after you clean them,” she explains. “I was fresh out of college and serving at a restaurant. I had a little four-door Cavalier with a magnet on the side, and my first business cards were me writing my information on server tickets.”

Tonya’s early customers included a handful of bars and retail storefronts in McDonough. Her business soon grew to include her husband.

As her client list expanded, so did the list of services she was able to provide to her customers. “People started asking us to do janitorial work, including stripping and waxing floors, and then we were approached about residential construction cleanup,” she recounts. Together, Tonya and her husband, David, traveled the state performing window cleaning and janitorial services for retail chains and retirement communities.

About working so closely with her husband, Tonya says, “People used to be amazed at how we could spend twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week together. In one vehicle, too, for a while. But we both believe in doing our best to do a great job at everything we do. We both have the things that we are really great at, and we do those things.”

Tonya emphasizes that honesty is the key working successfully with a spouse: “David and I are upfront and honest with each other in our business and our relationship,” she explains. “A disagreement is just that, and we move on.”

“We like to joke that we never take any time off because we don’t have the kind of life we need a vacation from,” she says.

The most challenging aspect of owning a family business is time, according to Tonya: “I am up before the sun rises and sometimes I don’t get home until after the sun has gone down, and I still don’t feel like I was able to get everything done. I love it though!”

As their business has grown, David adds, the Gentles have had to work on the infrastructure of the business and develop specific processes to ensure that each of their employees cleaned with the attentiveness and thoroughness that David and Tonya would give.

The company stumbled into Cleaning for a Reason back in 2012, when Tonya discovered a different way to share her love of cleaning. “We had cleaned a friend’s house for free after she was diagnosed with cancer,” she remembers. “By coincidence, we found Cleaning for a Reason on Facebook, and we thought it was a wonderful cause.”

Tonya describes her first Cleaning for a Reason client: “She went in to have surgery and that is when they found the cancer. She wouldn’t let me clean her windows for free, so I traded her some vegetables. It’s hard to explain how it makes you feel. You realize how lucky you are. I always want to go home and tell my husband how much I love him!”

The greatest reward for her participation in Cleaning for a Reason is the hugs she receives from thankful clients: “I’ve received more tearful hugs from these women than I can count.”

“Most of these women did not contact me — a family member did,” Tonya admits. “Women are so strong, and we always try to do everything for ourselves. It’s our loved ones who come forward and say that we can’t do it alone.”

As their reputation for cleaning for cancer patients spread, the Gentles heard of other families dealing with cancer diagnosis and needing a little extra help cleaning around the house. This need inspired them to offer their free cleaning services to anyone faced with cancer.

Tonya is inspired by her experiences cleaning for cancer patients. “Knowing we have really helped someone feel better just by doing something that they don’t have the strength to do humbles me every time,” she says.

Her advice for family and friends supporting a loved one through cancer treatment is simple: give your love, support, and understanding.

Tonya explains: “I was talking to a man I clean for on a regular basis. His wife survived cancer many years ago and they have just had their 50th wedding anniversary. He said that he felt helpless, because he couldn’t do anything but hold her hand while she battled this disease. I think we should know that that is enough. You can do something as little as cleaning a toilet or cooking dinner. Just be there however you can. The doctors do what they can to give the treatment that is available and the patient fights. We just need to love them.”

Supporting families dealing with cancer is business as usual for Gleam Cleaning Pros. They are still housekeeping for many of the families they met through Cleaning for a Reason, and the Gentles enjoys doing a little extra for these families from time to time.

It’s their way of making the world a better place, one window, one house, and one family at a time.

Gleam Cleaning Pros provide a wide variety of residential and commercial cleaning services in areas from Henry County to Macon, and you can contact them at (478) 994-0515 or at www.gleamcleaningpros.com.

For those interested in learning more about Gleam Cleaning Pros services available through their partnership with Cleaning for a Reason, or for cleaning services for other families dealing with cancer, information and an application form are also available at www.gleamcleaningpros.com.

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