The Emerald Youth Foundation building has a new floor thanks to two men who grew up with the organization. 

A solid foundation is critical for the success and stability of any structure. It’s also crucial in the life of a child.

For brothers Steve Bryant and Ballard Hall their foundation was laid at Emerald Youth Foundation, a faith-based nonprofit in Knoxville.

“They have always been in our heart somehow permanently fixed,” Hall said.   

The pair said the Emerald Youth Foundation saved their lives, and that was what motivated them to give back by donating the new floor. 

"What Emerald really did for me was it kept me out of jail. They kept me from following the wrong crowd or doing drugs," Ballard Hall said. “They did a lot for me as a kid. They fed me they gave me an environment that was friendly and good to be in. Gave me clothes when I needed them and never turn my back and back of me.”

“We've never forgotten where we came from and who got us where we are now,” he said.

Where they are now is pretty amazing.

Both are decorated combat veterans. They served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Both have college degrees, and now both own and operate Custom Concrete and Design LLC, which employs other veterans.

Their story now comes full circle as the brothers have donated a new floor to the organization they credit with changing their lives.

“We said that when we can get it in our budget that we would do it for them as a gift,” Steve Bryant said. “So after a good successful year in business we have the time and the availability to give them this floor system and here we are.”

Bryant said the floor is in the dining facility, which is often used for events like sports banquets, wedding receptions and meetings.

“My brother's wedding reception was in that room. My homecoming after my first deployment we had in that room and that room's been used time and time again for everything,” Bryant said.

David Wells, vice president of development for Emerald Youth, said this story represents the whole mission of Emerald youth.

“We hope to find young men and women who we can step in and interrupt their lives maybe with where they are and where they live and see them go through a full cycle of growing up and having those values that they can come back and be in the community and be part of the community,” he said. 

Do you have a Pay if Forward story? Email us at payitforward@wbir.com