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 | By Matt Riedl and Stephanie Van Koevering


Retired Two Men & A Truck® co-founder and CEO Brig Sorber has been depicted as a stickman for decades. But now, his life is rich with faith, meaning and—most importantly—the opportunity to help others. 

Brig Sorber doesn’t fit the classical “retired executive” stereotype. He is not polished and doesn't put on airs when he roams the land in a dusty utility vehicle, sporting well-worn boots and work jeans. He is plainspoken, direct and — in a departure for this publication — he even likes to swear sometimes.

It’s a hot summer day when we meet at his home in East Jordan, the kind of afternoon that most newly retired people would prefer to spend on a sunny back patio, watching ice melt in a cool drink, enjoying desultory conversations about life, family and current events. And there is a bit of that. 

But Brig most wants to get out and explore his land. His projects. And his faith. 

And so we do. He begins to drive, pushing the little UTV to its limits over the gravel roads near his home. Munching an apple, one arm slung lazily over the wheel, he shares his passion projects, which are as unique and colorful as he is.

At one point, he pauses the UTV to lean over a tiny sapling growing alone in a field. “I found this struggling little tree a ways off and moved it to this spot,” he says. “Kind of my way of helping replenish things. It’s doing well, but I’d better keep it watered. It’s been pretty dry this year.”

Brig does a lot of watering and replenishing. He tends the earth carefully, from a small lot of evergreens to a pumpkin patch (“for the grandkids”). But that’s not all he’s been up to. 

But more on that in a minute.

The original story

Bishop Boyea asked the FAITH team to contact Brig after reading his book, Moving Forward: A Stickman’s Journey for Hope and Meaning (Forefront, 2022). The work explores Brig’s background and faith journey, and the bishop thought it could be a great way of connecting people with an impressive story of one man’s growth in Christ.

And it is.

“I wasn’t Catholic. My wife, Fran, was—but me? Never,” Brig says. “I didn't go to church, I felt Christians were weak. But I did feel that there was a God out there. It was a God that demanded and expected hard work. A God that I had to prove myself to.”

And as far as Brig was concerned, he was doing the job just fine.

“I figured I was a five-star recruit for heaven,” Brig continues. “I work hard. Most people like me. I am nice. I figured compared to the rest of the world, really, I'll walk in there.”

But then, Brig says, he realized the hard work and “niceness” weren’t enough.

“When Fran and I started out, we didn't have two nickels to rub together,” he remembers. “I just remember thinking, there's no freedom here. When you have money, you have freedom. So, we began building wealth. We went from a broken-down $15,000 home to a new house with an in-ground pool and suddenly, I really felt like I made it. But it turns out it was an empty place. That's when I went through a dark time. I felt despair.” 

Suffering from gloom and anxiety, Brig started reading the Left Behind series of fiction books at night to get to sleep. 

“There were some biblical quotes in there and I thought, is this real? And so I blew the dust off an old Bible. And then I thought, maybe I should be reading this, maybe I should be reading the Bible. That was the changer,” he says. “So I came into work, I would pray for 10 minutes and then read the Bible for 20 minutes every day. And while reading the Bible, it dawned on me that God loved me.” 

At that point, Brig’s feelings about his life began to change. 

“That's when I got deeper into my faith and started to love myself for the sake of what God did for me and where he wants me to be,” Brig says. “We're born in a sinful body, but God knows us before we were born and going like, oh, I know the talents in you. I know the things. And when we start to use those talents the way God wants us to use them, our lives change. And that's where the adventure, excitement and other gifts come in.”

Today, Brig spends much of his time speaking to Christians through Legatus Catholic and other organizations. He is passionate about his faith and loves sharing it with others, telling of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist and the value of Mass attendance. God is very much at work in Brig’s life; that much is clear.

And a less intrepid team of reporters would have ended the story there.

Brig’s new story—and his mission

But that’s not all Brig does. And it’s where our FAITH story took a sudden, sharp turn.

“I’ve been pulling a lot of nails,” he tells us in what initially seems to be a non sequitur. But then, rounding a corner in his UTV, we see what he’s talking about.

It’s a dilapidated building covered in faded, peeling paint. It seems to be falling off its foundation, and the back half is wide open to the elements. The hot breeze curls slowly into its corners, offering an eerie premonition of the coming winter.

“It’s the old Peninsula Grange,” he says. “Isn’t it amazing?”

But to the untrained eye, it sure doesn’t look very good. The charitable among us would say it needed work; others would call it an eyesore. 

Brig says the building was constructed in 1896. Around that time, the Grange was one of the state’s premier organizations, representing rural life at the Capitol and building community in all regions of the state.

“After the harvest, a bunch of local farmers gathered together to build this Grange structure,” Brig says. “There were probably some old guys that fought in the Civil War that worked on that building. It was a school for a couple of years and had dances, weddings and political meetings, bringing people together. Farmers would get together to bring in extra firewood to give to other farmers that didn't have enough, to help other people out. They had oyster bakes there to pay for polio shots back in the ’50s.

“It was a rockstar of a building.”

In recent years, however, the Grange’s ability to host and maintain vital in-person connections was replaced by new technologies, and the building ceased to be necessary. The events stopped, and the structure began to crumble where it stood.

But then Brig Sorber found it and, in an unlikely decision, bought it. In his experience, redemption is possible everywhere.

“There are treasures in here,” he says. And he compares it to his own spiritual journey—indeed, the journey of any person who has seen some things in life.

“There's two ‘come to Jesus’ moments in a person’s experience,” he observes. “There's the first one, where there's a prodigal son moment. Kill the fatted calf, we're going to have a party. But then the second one is the one people don't discuss.

“That's where Christ walks through the building that is our soul—beaten up and battered by our choices throughout years of living—and starts looking at it. We don't like that. We don't want anyone to see the dirty parts of our hearts or what we've done. That old Grange building, when we were digging around the foundation and came across a huge cache of empty whiskey bottles, the Holy Spirit went, ‘That is just a great metaphor. Did you ever see one of those whiskey bottles when you bought the place? No, it was only when you started digging around, you found over 100 of them. This is what a soul looks like when God lovingly scrubs it and exposes all the brokenness and the nastiness.’"

That, Brig says, is the second moment in a faith journey—the one when we truly come to Christ. It’s a comparison he recalls every day as he works to help redeem the Grange.

“Last winter, I decided to save the 130-year-old white oak that was in the building. So I’d go out with my hammer and pull nails out of each and every piece in the cold,” he says. “Easy? No way. But it’s just like God's loving work as he helps restore us to his kingdom. For all us old souls, all those talents that we used to bring up a family, in a job, are those talents that God gave us. He wants to clean those up. He wants to put those back inside a brand-new foundation and better building and use you. You are his treasure.”

So, retired CEO Brig Sorber pulls nails. Replants frail trees. And does the humble work that brings back the history and life to his community.

“It’s a labor of love and of faith,” he says. “I think that how we build his kingdom is having people realize Jesus is well aware of your brokenness. He doesn't expect anything else. That's why Jesus came. It was the ultimate wrestling move that God made against the devil. And so now what we do is he gives us free will. And if we choose, he will clean us up and put us back in the game to build his kingdom.”

The day we arrived, workers were setting the building on its new foundation.

“I’m so excited to see it,” he says. “What a miraculous thing to witness. That old building has a lot of life in him yet. I can’t wait to see what God does next.”

Neither can we.

Editor’s Note: 

If you’d like to watch the progress of the Grange building project, stay tuned to the FAITH website. We’ll do our best to post periodic photos and updates!