If James Ausburn hadn’t had someone to guide him while he was in foster care, he’s not sure where he would be right now.

But he did have that mentor.

He learned a trade that has served him well for a number of years. He now owns his own business, Tri-Cities Plumbing & Repair, which has rewarded him not only financially, but in every part of his life.

Ausburn was tabbed for a job by project manager Steve McKinney to replumb a residence that will be a transitional living home for youth at risk of being homeless or those aging out of foster care who have nowhere to go.

“I met him here and he told me what the project was about, and it was something that sounded great and I’m happy to be involved in it,” Ausburn said last week.

The concept resonates with Ausburn because of his own situation as an older teenager in the foster care system.

“I know, being a foster kid you might struggle for support more than being in a regular family. It might sound strange to some people, but a “regular family” is how foster kids frame stuff,” he said.

“With that age group, that’s a trying time in your life. You can go one way or you can go another,” Ausburn said. “I’ve been there. I’ve had someone reach out to me and help me when I was that age.

“It reminds me of myself when I was that age. I got lucky, I had someone who took me under their wing when I was young and gave me some guidance. I’m 35 now and I’ve been plumbing since I was 17.”

Ausburn’s success led to him using his plumbing knowledge and experience to start his own business when he was 25. It now provides a six-figure income for the company.

“I’ve really been blessed,” he said.