‘It will beat you if you let it’


Local man, crew take part in show to help family, ALS cause

By Sue Hughes | For The Times-Post

PENDLETON — Don’t tell Randy Toombs that ALS is going to beat him. He won’t listen.
In fact, the local business owner has a motto he lives by depicted on his truck and on company T-shirts.
He says it applies to everyone, not just him: “It will beat you if you let it.”
Toombs, 56, a Pendleton Heights High School graduate, was diagnosed with the amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease — in 2020.
It’s “a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord,” according to the ALS Association. “Although there is no cure or treatment that halts progression, new treatments are helping to slow and ease symptoms.”
Toombs displayed his obstinacy toward the disease last year when he was contacted about being on Renovation Hunters, an Outdoor Channel program.
The channel had done a show about a man with ALS who was renovating a cabin in Pennsylvania. The man retired and bought the cabin, but unfortunately died before the work was complete.
The producers then asked the crew if anyone knew someone with ALS who could do masonry work on the job. Toombs’ son-in-law just happened to be part of that crew.
The program contacted Toombs, and he agreed to go to Linesville, Pennsylvania, where the cabin is located.
He and five members of his masonry crew drove out in August 2023 to do the work.
“It’s a low-budget program, so I paid our way out and for hotel rooms while we were there,” Toombs said. “We were there three days. It was really fun to see how it works.
“I did a one-hour interview with four cameras on me. The producer kept saying not to look at the cameras, to look at him,” he said with a laugh.
“The show wasn’t about me — it was about the family of the man, and to raise awareness of ALS,” Toombs said. “It was nice to give back to people who had lost their family member.”
He said it was fun, and his crew enjoyed it. Although Toombs was not able to do the work on the foundation, he could oversee the project.
Toombs has owned Parrigin & Toombs Masonry and Construction for 28 years. Although his partner has died, he keeps his name on the business as a tribute to him.
Toombs was the grand marshal of the Pendleton Junior Baseball/Softball Parade last year and also is an ambassador of the walk to defeat ALS.
This year the walk will be at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Sept. 21. The walk helps pay for treatment and medication for those with ALS.
Randy’s wife, Renee, said his medicine costs about $15,000 per year.
One of the local projects Toombs has worked on recently is the entrance to Falls Park.
“I was shown a blurry picture of what the entrance used to look like and was able to draw a blueprint my men could work from,” he said. “My four grandchildren each laid a block, too, so they could say they helped build it,” he added.
Toombs was able to help with some of the blocks.
The Toombses have been married 33 years and have two daughters, Megan and Morgan, and four grandchildren.
Four years ago, when Toombs was diagnosed, the doctor predicted he had 2 to 5 years to live.
Later, one night, he came up with his motto, which he lives by in the face of the challenges.
He still goes to work every day, he says, acknowledging the hurdles: “It changes a person’s life.”
The episodes of Renovation Hunters featuring Toombs and his crew aired in April.

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