A Personal Account

Mick Richards, Producer/Director

Years in the making, Building a Difference debuted the world premiere of The Goodall Family Story at the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville. The response was overwhelming and better than any of us could have imagined. Emotion, laughter, hugs, tears and unity filled the theater unlike anything we had ever experienced at such a venue.

So instead of releasing a standard news release about the event, I wanted to take a moment to share my personal thoughts of how important I believe The Goodall Family Story really is.

Telling this kind of epic story was a massive undertaking to say the least, especially since I was only a one-man unit at that time, but the heart of this project really comes down to one specific thing. While Kenny and Kollin Goodall were still with us, I made a promise to both of them that we would share their experiences to encourage others amidst struggles of illness and possible loss of life. Their wish was that it might help other people see clarity and purpose, hidden beneath the surface of their suffering. So no matter how long this giant project was going to take, I was determined to keep that promise.

Image module
Image module

Honestly, the actual size of the project hadn’t been fully realized until entering into the post-production stage long after recording was finally complete…Kenny’ story being separated from Kollin’s story by about two years and other video projects. Since this was taken on as a personal, independent endeavor, rather than like the previous Builders Care shows, it was self-funded up until this time.

However, when financial support had suddenly come in, I was finally able to mark out a dedicated timeframe for writing and editing this epic story. And that meant…I was able to open “the box.” This was a very large cardboard box of accumulated DVC-Pro video tapes, Goodall family photos and stacks of old home videos they had leant me. Side note…Kenny’s story had originally begun during the final days of shooting on tape” before HD fully took over.

There were over three hundred hours of raw footage shot throughout the years of Kenny’s illness, Builders Care’s home makeover, and Kollin’s final days. Add to that about a hundred hours of unedited family home videos, thousands of photos, and a large collection of cell phone videos the family had saved.

Then came seemingly endless hours of on-camera interviews that had to be shot and individually transcribed from family members, church members, friends, doctors, builders, and trade partners who had helped them along the way…

…for a grand total of almost 500 hours of raw footage.

The deep dive into the recorded history of this family’s lives was about to begin, ready to discover the hidden stories waiting to be found. All  the family memories and events were laid out, like pieces of an enormous puzzle with absolutely no idea what the final picture was supposed to look like. Then, closing the door to the home studio., the withdrawal from everyone and everything had begun.

For twelve months I knew nothing but this family; the struggles, the pain, the sorrows, the heartache, and the loss…yet at the same time the love, compassion, strength, faith, and the beauty that surrounded it all.

The persona of Kenny was taken on and tried to experience within myself how hard it must have been for him to lose the ability to walk, move, and eventually even communicate, while the family he loved had to watch his health decline all the way to his very last breath. I had to become a young man named Kollin who needed to come to terms with his dreams of a long, promising future shatter as the pain of leukemia kept surfacing more and more.

Image module

The task required to emotionally bore the exhaustion of a loving wife and mother who sacrificed everything to become the full-time caretaker of her dying husband, of her firstborn losing his battle, and of the five other children trying to cope with what was going to affect them deeply for the rest of their lives.

Yet at the same time, an incredible spiritual journey had been taken and discovered even within myself a hidden beauty so indescribable that could only be left itto the viewers to experience for themselves.

Through it all, I have been inexpressibly humbled by what God has accomplished within my own heart because if it, and I can say without hesitation that the very first life that was changed by God’s hand from this documentary was my own. I am eternally grateful to Kenny, Kollin, and Karen for the priceless gift of personal transformation that resulted from their remarkable testimony.

After twelve intense months of solitude, the final portrait of this family’s story was complete, resulting in a documentary totaling almost five hours in length.

Planning a Premiere
Image module

To grasp the weight of this story and experience it in its fullness, it really needed to be seen in one sitting, and the Florida Theatre was the perfect venue for such a premiere. Some people said that I was crazy if I actually believed anyone was going to sit through an almost five-hour documentary and a potentially a six-hour-plus event with food and intermission. In fact, there were some in the inner circle who were actually quite upset with me, to say the very least, for even wanting to attempt something like that and not just keep it simple.

But I also understood that up to that point, they hadn’t seen what I had seen, and Builders Care very graciously went out on a limb to organize a doubled-sized event for a production that they hadn’t even laid their eyes on yet. For that, I am forever grateful.

Under the dedication and leadership of event coordinator Dianne Rigby, Builders Care and its board members did an outstanding job of helping promote The Goodall Family Story. As a result, the premier event received overwhelming support from the building, medical, corporate, church, and Northeast Florida community at large.

In fact, the 10-page program planned for the event turned into a 64-page magazine…due to the amount of supporting partners wanting to be involved!

Image module
Opening Night

January 19th had finally come, and the Florida Theatre was filling up fast. The Goodall family arrived with jitters and butterflies not knowing what to expect, and tears were already surfacing. It was a spectacular reunion among so many friends and loved ones. Konner Goodall was being asked to autograph the Building a Difference shirts he designed, which we had silkscreened for the event. People of all ages were wearing wristbands with the inscription “Kenny and Kollin – Make Every Day Count.”

The show began, and I had the honor of sitting with the family as they watched their story begin to unfold on the big screen. There was laughter, wonder, and tears. One could even hear weeping throughout the theater during heavier scenes. When Part One: Kenny’s Story ended and the lights went up, Karen and her five remaining children were brought up to the stage amidst a long, loud standing ovation.

Karen wiped her eyes, took a deep breath, and began to speak.

“I can’t begin to thank Builders Care and ICI Homes enough for what they did for Kenny and our family. What we experienced during this build was one of the most amazing times of my life. It was that revival in my heart that made me a stronger person. It made me realize all the things that God does for us on a daily basis. It brought revival in our church and new friends who we now call family.

“I wouldn’t wish this tragedy on anybody, but I thank my Lord and Savior that he trusted me enough to handle it not once, but twice. I miss Kenny, and I certainly miss Kollin, but I’m very thankful for what my family and I have gone through because it’s made us all stronger.

“Mick Richards, you have an amazing talent, and for not knowing us you did an excellent job with portraying our family and what we’re about. I thank you so much for sticking with us and following through with what you promised Kenny and what you promised Kollin. This is a treasure. There is no way I could have ever done what you did for my children. This is a gift and a treasure that we will cherish forever.”

Intermission had started, and I thought for sure we were going to quickly lose half the audience because of the length of Part One.  But instead, everyone was walking around embracing and hugging one another. Faces glowing and with tears of joy, all were sharing how deeply moved they were and couldn’t believe what they had just experienced. It was absolutely beautiful to watch!

After a brief dinner break, just about everyone returned to their seats anxiously awaiting the second half.  The lights went down and Part Two: Kollin’s Story began. Everyone in the theatre spent the next few hours on an intense, emotional roller coaster ride and spiritual journey through Kenny and Kollin’s final days; an indescribable captivation that gripped the audience from beginning to end.

When the last scene faded to black there was heavy silence. David Beecher, Associate Pastor of Mill Creek Baptist Church, took the stage and closed the evening out with poignant words that struck right to the soul. The entire audience then stood up and gave an emotional outpouring of applause for The Goodall Family Story.

Unlike after Part One was over, this time people seemed to have no words to describe the emotions inside them. They just weren’t able to get anything out.

And then a young girl approached me. Wiping her eyes, she said she needed to say something. She explained that not understanding why at the time, she felt compelled at the last minute to attend the event. But now that it was over, she believed the reason was clear. She said that before the event she was contemplating suicide, but after watching Kollin’s Story, God had now given her a new reason to live. She then embraced me with tears and said, “thank you.”

That is just one of the many reasons why I believe The Goodall Family Story is so important. Those of us who worked hard to get this story out stand firm in agreement that everyone needs to watch this presentation.

It is the desire of Building a Difference to do everything we can to share this with the world. If you will have us, we would love to come to your city, your town, your church or venue, and show The Goodall Family Story to everyone you can bring.  If you feel this will minister to your congregation, challenge your community association, or inspire your group or charity, we will be there to put on an event. Please contact us anytime about how to make this possible. We feel strongly that lives will be touched, changed, and even as you just read, saved as a result.

God’s blessings to you all.

-Mick Richards

I thank you so much for sticking with us and following through with what you promised Kenny…and what you promised Kollin.

This is a treasure. There is no way I could have ever done what you did for my children. This is a gift and a treasure that we will cherish forever.”


Karen Goodall