By Jennifer Goddard Combs

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Textured Coatings of America’s products have covered some of the largest structures on Earth ─ from massive bridges to towering buildings ─ but it was its coverage of a simple sign on a hill that truly put the company on the map.

It didn’t hurt that the sign says “HOLLYWOOD” and is one of the most photographed and iconic symbols in the country.

The Hollywood sign may be a relatively small surface, but this was a big job.

The decision to cover it – for free – came from TCA President/CEO Stuart Haines, whose multinational, world-class company has its roots in Los Angeles, where it was founded in 1961. In the mid-1980s, Haines decided to repay his hometown with a unique, generous and much-appreciated gift to the city.

Working with the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Haines arranged for TCA to donate the supplies and the labor force – including reformed L.A. gang members – to repaint the Hollywood sign’s 50-foot-high letters and coat them with TCA’s patented TEX•COTE Graffiti-Guard®, to protect the iconic landmark from vandalism. The project cost TCA more than $25,000 and took a week to complete.

The immediate accolades came straight from City Hall. In response and in gratitude, then-L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley proclaimed Aug. 1, 1985, to be TEX•COTE Day in L.A.; Bradley further created The Mayor’s Committee for Graffiti Removal and named Haines to chair the committee.

TCA’s generous gift also generated a media storm that included widespread public and broadcast recognition and countless articles in publications across the country and around the globe.

The now-57-year-old company may already have been on track for long-term success, but the creation of that inspiring, indelible moment of random kindness catapulted it. From that moment on, TCA could rightly present itself as a celebrated, world-renowned corporation.

The moral of TCA’s sign story is classic Hollywood: A simple kind act can reap invaluable rewards.