We can be heroes

NRCA members are building strong communities through their acts of kindness and generosity


Heroes come in all shapes, sizes, ages and nationalities. When people are young, their heroes tend to be fictional warriors, princesses and comic book superheroes. As they get older, their heroes may transform into people they aspire to be—an astronaut, a movie star or entertainer, or the U.S. president. And then they may realize there are heroes in their everyday lives—a mother who works two jobs to make ends meet; a father who protects his children with courage and strength; a teacher who stays late to make sure a student understands a lesson.

Florence Nightingale once said: "I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel."

For Nightingale, the people who found ways to improve the world around them through the course of their everyday lives were heroes. Nightingale herself saved countless lives because of the extra care she provided to people daily.

In the roofing industry, there are many heroes who leave imprints of positive change in their communities because they provide more than what's expected. From donating a roof to a family in need to raising money for much-needed school supplies, NRCA members improve their communities every day.

Every August, Professional Roofing spotlights some of the charitable projects undertaken by NRCA members. The following are just a few heroic acts NRCA members recently achieved.

Duluth's Damiano Center

In September 2015, Minnesota's roofing and construction industry came together to replace the failing roof on Duluth's Damiano Center, Duluth, Minn., home to northern Minnesota's largest soup kitchen. The center serves 120,000 meals every year to homeless and low-income residents.

When the center's 18,000-square-foot, steep-slope roof system was failing, local roofing professionals came forward to help: Owens Corning, Toledo, Ohio, donated 18,000 square feet of shingles; Central Roofing Co., Minneapolis, secured underlayment and other materials; Jamar Co., Duluth, provided construction oversite services, including scaffolding and a boom truck; Roof Spec Inc., St. Paul, Minn., provided design and inspection services; and APi Group Inc., New Brighton, Minn., donated $75,000 toward labor. On Sept. 19, 2015, more than 50 Duluth union workers donated their Saturday to support the project, and the soup kitchen received a new roof system.

Thanks to the generous help and donations from Minnesota's roofing community, Duluth's Damiano Center will continue to serve meals to its 400 neighborhood children and families with a new, safe roof overhead.

Project Manhattan

During May 2015, employees at Danker Roofing Inc., Manhattan, Kan., participated in Project Manhattan, a competition for local businesses to raise the most food and funds, for Flint Hills Breadbasket, an organization whose mission is to ensure no one goes hungry. Employees were asked to bring nonperishable items, and more than 200 pounds of food were collected during the month. Danker Roofing then added to its employees' donations with a $300 monetary contribution.

Because of Danker Roofing's efforts, more than 3,000 children received food during the summer months when children of low-income families cannot receive free or reduced-cost meals at school.

Project foodbank

Soon after Ohio's Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank relocated to an 85,000-square-foot building, it discovered its new facility suffered a leaking roof, compromising food quality and distribution to the more than 263,000 people it serves annually. Laura Bennett, the organization's chief operating officer, contacted Bridgestone Americas, owner of Indianapolis-based Firestone Building Products Co. LLC and a major contributor to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank.

Bridgestone Americas was happy to contribute. It provided the organization with a new roof system and enlisted local contractors, AAdvanced Building Products LLC, Twinsburg, Ohio, and TEMA Roofing Services LLC, Girard, Ohio, a Firestone Red Shield™ contractor, for help. Together, the team removed two existing roof systems, an EPDM roof and a built-up roof, from the foodbank's facility and installed a new 60-mil-thick fully adhered TPO roof system with two layers of polyisocyanurate insulation. In addition to initial savings developed through the team's pricing model, TEMA Roofing Services will provide the foodbank with an ongoing preventive maintenance program at no cost.

As a result of dedicated roofing professionals working together to support their communities, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank can continue its charitable response to hunger relief in its eight-county service territory.

For Mary

John Gooding, founder of GSM Roofing, Ephrata, Pa., dedicated more than 40 years of his life to his company until 2014 when his focus moved to caring for and supporting his wife, Mary, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease. That year, GSM Roofing and GSM Industrial, Lancaster, Pa., formed a team, GSM Memory Marchers, to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer's to honor Mary Gooding. During its first year, GSM Memory Marchers came in first place in Pennsylvania and in the U.S. top 50.

Sadly, Mary Gooding's battle with Alzheimer's ended Feb. 11, 2015. According to GSM Memory Marchers Walk to End Alzheimer's web page, www.gsmroofing.com/gsm-memory-marchers-walk-to-end-alzheimers: "We are walking to raise funds and awareness to end this devastating disease. The community provided us with overwhelming support in our initial walk and we are hoping to surpass last year's success. As a group, we want to show John that we care and can make a difference."

As of August 2016, GSM Memory Marchers has raised $56,038, more than doubling its goal, to help support research to end Alzheimer's while enhancing care for those living with the disease.

Morgan's inspiration

In March 2015, a volunteer team from Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing, Farmers Branch, Texas, helped build the first-ever handicap-accessible waterpark, Morgan's Inspiration Island, in San Antonio. The new waterpark is part of Morgan's Wonderland, a 25-acre amusement park for children and adults with special cognitive and physical needs. During three days, Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing volunteers installed waterproofing materials on four buildings.

The following month, on April 14, the company raised more than $10,000 for WorkFaith Connection, a Houston-based organization whose mission is to give people in transition a second chance at becoming productive citizens through employment, during its Customer Appreciation Event. As the Houston Astros battled the Kansas City Royals, about 350 Chamberlin Roofing & Waterproofing clients and friends participated in a raffle to win prizes such as an autographed fiddle by Charlie Daniels. The winners were drawn during the seventh-inning stretch, and thanks to the participants' generosity, the raffle raised $10,240 for the organization.

Patriotic pups

For many people, a dog is a companion, friend or family member. But for a veteran who may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the unconditional support a dog provides can mean the difference between merely existing and returning to a meaningful, balanced life as a civilian. With one in five veterans returning from Iraq with PTSD, being able to connect adoptable dogs with veterans at no cost is so important to Klein Contracting Corp., Doraville, Ga., it made doing so possible.

In 2015, Candace Klein, president of Klein Contracting, worked with the Atlanta Humane Society to form the Companion Pets for Vets program to match adoptable dogs with veterans. During just one year, the program has provided more than 220 successful adoptions thanks to Klein's dedication to develop the program with funding assistance from Klein Contracting.

In addition, the company coordinated a "vicarious" adoption experience for PTSD veterans not in a current position to adopt. Volunteers from Klein Contracting hosted the veterans while the service men and women played catch with the dogs and rubbed bellies.

"The dogs loved the attention, and the men and women felt so much better to have one day forgetting about the physical and emotional battle of PTSD," Klein says. "The volunteers loved having a direct effect on the veterans and the dogs!"

Camp Liberty

In Brighton, Mich., veterans suffering from PTSD now have the opportunity to recover in a tranquil setting thanks to Atlas® Roofing Corp., Atlanta. From hunting to fishing to kayaking, Camp Liberty offers veterans, particularly those who have suffered injuries in combat or are challenged by traumatic brain injuries, 135 acres of lush habitat and a quiet, peaceful environment where rehabilitation can flourish.

In 2015, Camp Liberty was constructed with help from Atlas Roofing's $30,000 donation of building products. As a result of Atlas Roofing's generous materials donation, Camp Liberty opened in January to host wounded veterans and families on their paths to recovery.

Fort Hood project

When Rick Birkman, president of Texas Roofing Co. Inc., Round Rock, was approached by Rep. John Carter (R-Texas) about installing the metal roof system on a memorial in Killeen, Texas, to be dedicated to the 13 victims of the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, Birkman didn't hesitate to help.

Birkman contacted Petersen Aluminum Corp., Elk Grove Village, Ill., who agreed to donate SNAP-CLAD™ 16-inch standing-seam aluminum roof panels, and Birkman's company donated the labor to install the roof system on the 13-sided memorial with trim custom-manufactured in Texas Roofing's sheet metal shop. The memorial's unique design includes 13 marble columns etched with each victim's name, rank and individual story, and an opening in the center of the roof allows an American flag to be flown.

The Fort Hood Memorial was dedicated March 11 when 13 trees were planted—one for each victim. Each victim posthumously was awarded a national Purple Heart and a Texas Purple Heart by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Roof Deployment Project

Recognizing veterans and appreciating their service is so important to Owens Corning, it recently launched its national Roof Deployment Project, a program designed to match Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractors with military families throughout the U.S. to install new roof systems to thank brave soldiers for their service.

The program's inaugural project took place in March in San Antonio when Beldon Roofing Co., San Antonio, was the first to volunteer to install a new roof system for Sgt. Juan Rodriguez, a 15-year member of the Texas National Army Guard, with roofing materials supplied by Owens Corning.

And when Jasper Contractors Inc., Atlanta, learned about the Roof Deployment Project, it also seized the opportunity to participate and installed a new roof system for Sgt. Paul Singrossi, a 16-year Army veteran, and his wife, Collette, a police officer, who live in Orlando, Fla. The Jasper Contractors team tore off the old shingles from the couple's home and installed new shingles supplied by Owens Corning. Collette Singrossi says the new roof means peace of mind.

"There was water seeping through the roof!" she says. "So it's really nice we don't have to worry about trying to find the money for a new roof or having to worry about it leaking."

"We appreciate Jasper Contractors," Paul Singrossi adds. "It's nice to have the support and to know that what we do is cared about and supported."

Help for the homeless

Dedicated to ensuring Chicago's homeless population receives the means to become self-reliant, Inner Voice is a nonprofit organization providing support to socially and economically disadvantaged people. Its Eddie Beard Homeless Veterans' Housing Program provides interim housing for honorably discharged veterans and ensures its residents receive medical services and job placement assistance.

In summer 2015, leaks on a resident building became apparent.

"Staff members were concerned Inner Voice was not providing the kind of accommodations our vets deserved," says Jackie Edens, executive director of Inner Voice.

When Rebuilding Together,® NRCA's national charity partner, learned about Inner Voice's predicament, it introduced the organization to NRCA during NRCA's search for a National Roofing Week project. When NRCA passed on the project because of logistical reasons, Rod Petrick, president of Ridgeworth Roofing Co. Inc., Frankfort, Ill., agreed to provide the Eddie Beard Home with a new roof system.

After Inner Voice had essential masonry work completed on the building, Ridgeworth Roofing secured the required permits—a challenge in itself—and installed a Johns Manville polymer-modified bitumen roof system over three roof areas totaling 1,600 square feet.

"All the staff and residents at Eddie Beard Veterans' Housing can sleep better at night knowing we have a secure roof over our heads," Edens says. "It was an incredible experience for which we are and always will be grateful to Ridgeworth Roofing."

Tennessee Habitat for Humanity®

In Tennessee, one in four people face a significant housing problem, according to the Tennessee Housing Development Agency. Being a small, rural Habitat for Humanity office, the Tennessee affiliate faces struggles larger affiliates may never encounter, such as not being eligible for substantial grant funds because it builds fewer than three homes per year. Therefore, it must rely on individual donations, in-kind donations and the generosity of companies such as Fraizer Roofing Co., Dyersburg, Tenn., to complete projects.

Since 2001, Fraizer Roofing has installed 10 roof systems on Habitat for Humanity homes at no cost and saved the affiliate more than $35,000. The families to whom Fraizer Roofing has helped provide new roof systems include a tornado victim; a single, full-time working mother of two children; and a retired grandmother raising four grandchildren. Thanks to Fraizer Roofing's dedication to its community, Habitat for Humanity Northwest Tennessee is helping many more families in need in Dyer County.

Helping women

Perhaps the only thing better than having a roof over your head is having a new roof over your head. When a new roof was needed at a housing facility operated by the Center for Women in Transition, St. Louis, an organization that provides safe, stable housing for women making the transition from incarceration to their communities, Kirberg Co., St. Louis, came forward and donated $36,000 in materials and labor to get the job done.

"We are all extremely grateful for the generous donation of a complete roof replacement from Kirberg," says Laura Toledo, executive director for the Center for Women in Transition. "A major repair such as a new roof is something the budget is never quite prepared for, so this gift is an absolute blessing to our organization and the women we serve."

Valentine Basketball Camp

Taking advantage of an opportunity to give back to its hometown community, Drexel Metals Inc., Louisville, Ky., is a major sponsor for the Valentine Basketball Camps scheduled for four weeklong summer sessions.

For more than 30 years, Robbie Valentine, a member of the 1986 University of Louisville's men's national championship basketball team, has been conducting the camps for children aged 6 to 16 years old.

"Robbie is an inspiration and he's been doing tremendous work for a long time," says Brian Partyka, president of Drexel Metals. "There is nothing better than to help kids in and around the communities where Drexel Metals has locations. We're excited to be part of such a strong program for Louisville youth."

As a result of Drexel Metals' generous donation, 40 children who otherwise would not have been able to afford to attend Valentine Basketball Camp will have an experience of a lifetime.

Adopting a school

In Pennsylvania, Burns & Scalo Roofing Co. Inc., Pittsburgh, is making sure children in its community get the tools they need to succeed in school. The company recently participated in an Adopt-a-School Program through The Education Partnership, a nonprofit organization that provides the tools and resources necessary to support teachers and enhance students' abilities to learn and succeed.

The program connected Burns & Scalo Roofing with Whittier Elementary School, Scranton, Pa., an inner city school with more than 200 students. Burns & Scalo Roofing employees and their families assembled Power Tool kits that contain essential supplies for every student. The supplies not only help students with classroom assignments, but they also provide critically needed supplies to help with homework outside the classroom. The Burns & Scalo Roofing team took it one step further by making an in-school visit so employees could personally hand-deliver a Power Tool kit to each student and connect with him or her on an individual level.

"The employees and leadership at Burns & Scalo are heroes to thousands of students in our community," says Justin Brown, executive director of The Education Partnership. "I am confident their acts of generosity and caring will result in a tremendous impact for our future generations."

Be a hero

These stories are just a glimpse of the philanthropic work happening every day within the roofing industry. For every story told, there are hundreds of stories untold but not unnoticed or unappreciated by the ones whose lives were positively changed by a roofing professional who found a way to be a hero in an everyday situation.

Next year, National Roofing Week will take place June 4-10, 2017, and one day will be dedicated to charitable acts performed by the roofing industry. Make plans now to tell your story about how your company found a way to make a positive change in your community. For more information, visit www.nrca.net/National-Roofing-Week.

Chrystine Elle Hanus is Professional Roofing's associate editor and NRCA's director of communications.



For articles related to this topic, see:
"Shining like stars," August 2015 issue
"Acts of kindness," August 2014 issue
"The dream weavers," August 2013 issue



Did you know?

If your company is doing great work to help an organization, you can apply for the CNA/NRCA Community Involvement Award. The winning charity will receive $5,000. For more information, contact Charlotte Norgaard, NRCA's media relations manager, at (847) 493-7548 or cnorgaard@nrca.net.

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