Movers & Shapers – John & Diane Hendrix

M&S John & Diane

John & Diane’s Painting, painting the picture of life in Heber-Overgaard|
Barbara Bruce, The Independent

Famed motivational preacher Joel Osteen always asks, “Are you living your best life now?” Most of us could not unequivocally answer “yes” to that question, but John and Diane Hendrix can.

They love where they live,what they do personally and professionally, and who they are as individuals and partners.

John and Diane Hendrix are painting contractors, owners of John & Diane’s Painting in Heber-Overgaard.

John is from Southern California, followed by a short stint in Colorado before arriving in Arizona in 1991. After high school, he painted his way through Bible college and seminary. John was from a family of evangelical preachers. He pastored one year, and then went back to painting which he has done for 37 years.

Diane is originally from Ohio, but found her way to Arizona via Pennsylvania.

John and Diane,both married before, found each other at Bethany Christian School in Tempe where she worked as the secretary. John’s son and one of Diane’s daughters were in the same class. John and Diane were both runners and began running together as friends. The rest, as they say, is history.

John has one daughter and one son, Diane has two daughters and one son, and now the Hendrixes have three grandchildren.

In the Valley they worked together as painting contractors for years. In 2006 they bought a vacation home in Overgaard. Shortly after arriving, people asked what they did for a living. They told them they were painting contractors. That got them a job and from there it snowballed. That was a sign. They sold their Valley home and have never looked back.

John and Diane employ three people, and their work ethic dictates they call people back, show up, and do a professional job. They don’t take payment up front. They do the job, take pictures of the job, and then collect, because they know their customer will be satisfied with the job they did.

It is no wonder the Hendrixes never lack for work, even in the winter.

“The last two winters, winter never showed up,”said John, “but not this year. We have lots of work waiting. We usually save the interiors for winter. It is different for paint than stain. Stain needs to be warmer, 45 to 50 degrees, and we can get something done. It may not be all day, it may just be 4 or 5 hours.”

This month they painted the Baptist church.

“Humidity is low here and paint dries very quickly,” said John, “inside.”

“Much of our business is staining and cabins need to be stained every two or three years, or at least one side. It is not a luxury, but something you have to have. It is an education process to the consumer.” “The best protection for a deck is to have a roof over it. Most people think wind or snow is what affects wood, but it is Arizona sun. If you have 10 things on the list that will affect your deck, one through nine is Sun.”

“Staining is preventative, not corrective. Once the wood is damaged, the only thing you can do is stop further damage.”

John and Diane have done their homework on stain products and found one they preferred. A little Mom & Pop business in Payson carried it for them. When the local ACE Hardware approached them and offered to stock whatever they were using, they were happy to bring that business locally.

“We have worked hard to protect our reputation,” said John. “We have done better here in our business than we did in the Valley.”

“The three guys who work for us show up early every day. Brandon calls us sometimes at 10 p.m. and tells us he has been thinking about a job and tells us what he thinks we need to do. They take ownership in the business.”

After meeting June and Jerry Call, the Hendrixes got “sucked in” with the chamber.

John says, “Sucked in, in a good way.”

The Hendrixes could not believe how much the Calls did for the community, and they wanted to help.

Jerry said the chamber was on life support, and the Calls were working tirelessly to get it back up, juggling 25 balls in the air at a time.

“Our business got going and we started spending more and more time volunteering,” said John. “You would think there would be no time for our business, but the more we gave away, the more we made. It works that way.”

“The Chamber of Commerce is a huge full time job. There is not a day we do not work there.”

The chamber only has two paid employees, the office manager and the maintenance director who handles Navajo County Park.

Jerry is vice president of the board, and he and Diane prefer a support role in helping the President. He calls himself the Joe Biden of the chamber.

John, a great photographer, recognized there was no photographic history of the area for the chamber and made that a priority. Each year he also does a one to two minute video of the past years events and embeds it on the website and puts it on YouTube. He also does Facebook. They got 40,000 hits on the website last year and have 3300 followers on Facebook.

“I am so proud to help play a role to bring credibility to Heber-Overgaard,” said John.

With work and volunteering, the Hendrixes are not neglecting themselves.

John runs 70 miles a week which equates to 15 to 20 hours. He will run his first 50 mile marathon in Sacramento in April.

“We were born to run,” said John. “Early man was either running to get food, or running not to be food.”

Diane is a cyclist, inspired by the Special Olympics Torch Run which came through Heber-Overgaard on the way to Payson. She has done three 100 mile races and rides about 150 miles a week. She has a Trek Emondo road bike which only weighs 17 pounds and she rides to Clay Springs and even Show Low. In the Winters she either uses her indoor trainer which converts her bike to stationary, or layers well and rides by herself.

“On Christmas Day we went to the Fire Department and John got the treadmill out of the exercise room and I brought my bike and trainer,” said Diane. “We exercised for three hours in concert with a movie. It was fun.”

They also bike and run with their two Australian Shepherds.

John says, “ We say exercise burns off the crazy. We feel energized.”

The Hendrixes are dedicated to whatever they set out to do. Two years ago they changed their diets, giving up all processed foods, breads and pasta. They do not do carbs.

“I cleaned out the kitchen,” said Diane.

“Our staples are now spinach, avocado, almonds and blueberries,” said John. “We like a plant based diet, but we do eat meat, steak. We burn off so many calories.”

They do have cheat days. Their favorite cheat is a hamburger, one Diane makes herself. She grinds her own meat and then grinds bacon and adds that to it.

John said, “We have eaten pizza with friends. We ate three slices and it was not that great. We felt so crummy afterward. When you eat crap you get thirsty, and your hunger is not satisfied. It is not what fuels us.”

With their new way of eating, Diane lost 40 pounds and John lost 42.

When they first started losing, they carried out 11 bags of clothes,gave them away, and bought a whole new wardrobe. They were,, a bit premature, their body weight not yet regulated to their diet and exercise regimen. When they reached their ideal, they gave the new clothes away and bought more. .

“Not many people can work together 24/7,” said John. “This is our lot in life right now. If we could do anything else, it would be more promotion for Heber-Overgaard.”

John’s video of the Hashknife Pony Express Ride through Heber-Overgaard was recruited for the Hashknife Living History website, one more opportunity to show off Heber-Overgaard..

John and Diane also wear other hats. He is on the fire board for the District, and Diane does some catering. She has everything necessary to cater an event, and has done this on the side for years. John says she is quite good at it.

Doing good has its own rewards, but it does not come without discouragement.

When things get tough, John says he remembers the words of the late Lewis Tenney, former Navajo County supervisor, leader and statesman. Tenney told both the Calls and the Hendrixes, What you are doing is making a difference. It gets discouraging, but the community needs people like you.

John said, “Lewis Tenney said this matters, and we have to stick to it.”

John and Diane Hendrix are “living their best life now,” proving once again that “the love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay; love isn’t love until you give it away.”

John and Diane Hendrix are “Movers & Shapers.”

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