A million ways to give

The roofing industry continues its tradition of charity

  • St. Monfort Church in Port-de-Paix, Haiti, receiving much-needed roof repairsPhoto courtesy of Jim Giese Commercial Roofing, Dubuque, Iowa.
  • The exterior of Betty's home before Bone Dry Roofing performed renovationsPhoto courtesy of Bone Dry Roofing Inc., Indianapolis.
  • The exterior of Betty's home after Bone Dry Roofing performed renovationsPhoto courtesy of Bone Dry Roofing Inc., Indianapolis.
  • Through its involvement with Homes for Our Troops, DaVinci Roofscapes donated its slate gray roof tiles to be installed on a new home in Hillsdale, N.J., for Cpl. Visnu Gonzalez, a wounded veteran.Photo courtesy of DaVinci Roofscapes, Kansas
  • DaVinci Roofscapes donated its Bellaforté Villa roof tiles to be installed on this home constructed for wounded veterans returning from Iraq.Photo courtesy of DaVinci Roofscapes, Kansas City, Kansas.
  • DaVinci Roofscapes donated its Bellaforté Villa roof tiles to be installed on this home constructed for wounded veterans returning from Iraq.Photo courtesy of DaVinci Roofscapes, Kansas City, Kansas.
  • Allen Staff (left), senior vice president and regional executive for Bank of America, and NRCA Executive Vice President and Rebuilding Together's Chairman of the Board Bill Good present a $75,000 check to Gloria Suess of Mary's Kitchen, which was rehabilitated by Rebuilding Together, Bank of America and Major League Baseball. Photo courtesy of Major League Baseball.

There are so many different ways to help people.

Donations can be made in the form of money, food, clothing, shelter and time to those who are poverty-stricken or struggling financially. People can donate their blood, plasma, bone marrow and even organs to those battling illnesses or bodily injuries. But roofing professionals have an additional unique ability: They can donate materials and time to help put roofs over the heads of those who cannot afford to pay for the work.

In the end, it's not important why, where or how you wish to help others; what matters is that you do so at all. In a world plagued by natural and manmade disasters and in a country struggling to emerge from economic recession, there is no shortage of people in need, and those who can give should.

The roofing industry has never shied from philanthropic involvement, and this year was no exception. Following are stories of roofing professionals who contributed to others in various ways during the past year.

A unique ability

It is not uncommon for roofing companies and professionals to provide roof systems to struggling homeowners, nonprofit organizations and hospitals, among other entities.


Photo courtesy of Jim Giese Commercial Roofing, Dubuque, Iowa.

Jim Giese, owner of Jim Giese Commercial Roofing, and several of his employees traveled to Port-de-Paix, Haiti, to repair the roof of St. Monfort Church.


Jim Giese Commercial Roofing, Dubuque, Iowa, is one such company. In early 2009, Jim Giese, Jim Giese Commercial Roofing's owner, became involved with a charitable roof renovation project at St. Monfort Church in Port-de-Paix, Haiti. In addition to serving as a place of worship, the 70-year-old church has been used by people seeking shelter against ­­hurricanes and other storms, and the building's roof system was extremely damaged and deteriorated with numerous heavy leaks.

Giese learned about the ailing building through an acquaintance who was involved with Dubuque's St. Anthony parish, St. Monfort's sister parish. Giese volunteered to go to Port-de-Paix to evaluate the church's existing roof system.

"The roof was in extremely poor condition—there was a ton of water coming in and leaking down the walls into the body of the church," Giese says. "The ribs of the metal-clad dome were rusted out, and the backs of the parapet walls were coming off."

After viewing the church's condition, Giese agreed to repair the building's roof system. The project, which was to begin Feb. 2, was delayed because of the Jan. 12 earthquake. Although Port-de-Paix was not directly affected, the country's needs and transportation problems delayed the project until March 23.

Giese took five crew members to Port-de-Paix and spent a week reconstructing a new deck over the existing structure, reroofing the dome around the existing sheet metal and replacing the dome's windows.

Parishioners at St. Anthony's raised a substantial amount of money to fund many of the renovations at St. Monfort Church, and Giese, who paid his own way to Haiti both times and donated time and various materials for the project, says it was an experience he won't forget.

"They were beautiful people and deserved a beautiful church," Giese says.

Bone Dry Roofing Inc., Indianapolis, is another company that uses its roofing expertise to help others.

In 2009, the company participated in Extreme Makeover Home Edition Indianapolis; during the project, Bone Dry Roofing helped install two metal roof systems on damaged homes in Indianapolis' Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood. The company's involvement with the charitable project prompted it to launch its Bone Dry Community Assistance Program through which the company renovates two homes each year for homeowners who cannot afford needed renovations. Applications can be downloaded from the company's website, www.bonedryroofing.com, and are accepted year-round.

To be considered, a homeowner must be nominated and own the home needing repairs. A committee of Bone Dry Roofing employees screens the applications, interviews potential candidates and assesses work to be done on the homes, which can include roofing, siding, windows, masonry, gutters, drywall, painting, attic insulation and more. Then, the committee votes on each nominee.

The program's first project took place in March 2009 and involved renovations to the home of a 60-year-old woman named Betty. Once a housecleaner, Betty has struggled with medical problems during the past few years. Because of her health problems and lack of finances, she was unable to keep up her home's maintenance.

"We originally had planned to do only roofing work, but after Gene Judd, Bone Dry Roofing's president, visited Betty's home, he said we were going to gut the home and perform all renovations inside and out," says Cody Hergott, Bone Dry Roofing's sales manager. "This mentality carried over to the program's second project on the home of a woman named Kathy."

Bone Dry Roofing replaced almost everything inside both homes, as well as replaced the exterior siding on Betty's home and repainted the exterior of Kathy's home. Bone Dry Roofing also tore off both homes' existing three-tab asphalt shingle roof systems and replaced them with 30-year dimensional shingle roof systems.

"In the future, we will be looking at projects on a case-by-case basis to determine entire home renovation projects versus reroofing projects," Hergott says.

In addition to helping people in need, the Community Assistance Program has been a good experience for Bone Dry Roofing's employees.

"Bone Dry Roofing as a whole gets involved with the projects," Judd says. "We all work together—from the owner to administrative staff—so not only do the projects help the homeowners, but they help us learn to work as a team and build relationships throughout our offices."

Nations Roof LLC, Lithia Springs, Ga., also made a large contribution to its community this year by donating labor, equipment and supplies to repair the roof system on a safe house at the YWCA Upper Lowlands facility outside Sumter, S.C.

The safe house, which serves as temporary housing for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, is about 95 years old and was in need of major repairs, the most crucial being the roof and ceiling, according to Andrenette F. Hudley, the YWCA Upper Lowlands' executive director. The 4,200-square-foot roof system includes a second-story main roof and first-story enclosed porch roof.

According to Nations Roof, the existing three-tab shingles were beyond their service lives and there were several leaks into the living spaces. Nations Roof crew members tore off the existing shingles and disposed of them in bins that had been lifted to roof level with a motorized lull. The 6:12 (27-degree) hip roofs presented safety issues requiring Nations Roof crew members to be 100 percent tied-off with safety harnesses.

DaVinci Roofscapes,® Kansas City, Kansas, has an ongoing charitable arrangement: In 2009, the company signed on as a corporate sponsor of Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit organization that constructs and remodels homes of severely injured veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Under the sponsorship agreement, DaVinci Roofscapes supplies synthetic roofing materials free of charge for various homes constructed by the nonprofit organization.

To launch its sponsorship, DaVinci Roofscapes donated its slate gray roof tiles to be installed on a new 1,837-square-foot home for Cpl. Visnu Gonzalez in Hillsdale, N.J. While serving in Iraq, Gonzalez was shot several times by a sniper, resulting in paralysis from his waist down. When he returned home Nov. 10, 2009, Homes for Our Troops presented him with his new home.

DaVinci Roofscapes renewed its commitment as a corporate sponsor of the organization in 2010; its first donation of the year consisted of 610 bundles of DaVinci Bellaforté Villa roof tiles to a home being constructed in Cumming, Ga., for Cpl. Joshua Lindsay. Lindsay was shot and hit by two 81 mm mortars while on a patrol in Iraq in 2005; he is now a paraplegic. Homes for Our Troops built the new specially adapted home in Cumming so Lindsay could be close to the Shephard Center in Atlanta.

DaVinci also donated roof tiles to a new home built by Homes for Our Troops in Colorado and plans to donate to and participate in at least three more projects this year.

"We're extremely proud to supply the roof tiles for these homes as part of our sponsorship and support for Homes for Our Troops," says Ray Rosewall, DaVinci Roofscapes' president. "The entire experience of being involved in this group build effort has made quite an impression on our company."

Great Lakes Roofing Corp., Germantown, Wis., is another company that gave back to its community this year—in more ways than one.

The company's Helping Hands Program makes contributions in various ways to those in need. During the past 10 years, the program has donated about 2,000 turkeys to 15 food banks in Wisconsin. And in 2009, the Helping Hands Program donated about $5,000 to youth groups and $5,000 worth of fishing charters to nonprofit fundraising auctions.

"This is an ongoing program, and we will continue donating in various ways," says Michael Scoon, Great Lakes Roofing's director of sales. "We try to let each of our three company branches participate in a Helping Hands project every year by completing at least three projects per year."

In 2007, The Master's Craftsmen, a church ministry that performs construction services for needy churches, learned of Great Lakes Roofing's Helping Hands Program and asked the company to assist with construction projects where the assembled construction team doesn't have enough experience or isn't confident they can perform the work safely.

During the past three years, Great Lakes Roofing has installed three roofs through its involvement with The Master's Craftsmen: a 750-square-foot low-slope roof system on Believer's Baptist Church, Coal Valley, Ill.; a 350-square-foot low-slope roof system on a pastor's home in Omro, Wis.; and a 2,000-square-foot shingle roof system on Tri County Baptist Church, Osseo, Wis. Great Lakes Roofing donated more than $15,000 worth of labor and materials for the projects, which required more than 100 hours of labor to complete.

Additionally, during its work with The Master's Craftsmen, Great Lakes Roofing personnel noticed much of the equipment being used by volunteers wouldn't pass an inspection by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and required maintenance. Great Lakes Roofing's Equipment Maintenance Department offered to inspect, repair and maintain The Master's Craftsmen's equipment for free.

"Our company strives to create a family atmosphere, and I feel this is part of that effort," Scoon says. "Helping the community, churches, etc., promotes a sense of family at Great Lakes Roofing. We donate the materials, and our employees donate the time."

Various efforts

As Great Lakes Roofing demonstrates through its Helping Hands Program, not all contributions made by roofing industry professionals are roofing-related. For example, many roofing companies and industry professionals donate to causes for personal reasons.

Relay for Life, a branch of the American Cancer Society, is something dear to the heart of Robert Molnar, manager of Wm. Molnar Roofing, Riverview, Mich. Relay for Life raises money to support cancer research and works to support, comfort and educate cancer patients and their families.

Wm. Molnar Roofing sponsored and volunteered at its local Relay for Life event May 1-2; it was the company's second year sponsoring the event. The four employees comprising Team Molnar Roofing participated in the 24-hour relay, raising $2,445.

Molnar began participating in Relay for Life in 2001 after one of his grandmothers was diagnosed with cancer. She beat the illness, but Molnar lost his other grandmother to cancer in 2006.

"Nearly everybody is affected in some way by the disease, and that is my reason to relay," Molnar says.

Los Gatos Roofing, Los Gatos, Calif., also participates in philanthropic events in its community. On April 7, the company hosted Kids on Ice, an event for foster children held at Sharks Ice at San Jose in San Jose, Calif., the official practice facility of the National Hockey League's San Jose Sharks.

Los Gatos Roofing worked with two local shelters, The Bill Wilson Center and Innvision, to treat 125 foster kids to an evening of ice skating, snacks, gift bags and prizes. The children also were entertained by S.J. Sharkie, the San Jose Sharks' official mascot.

Another group of people active in charitable giving—some who are not direct members of the roofing industry but still are a part of it—is the Florida Roofing, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRSA) Inc.'s Ladies' Committee.

The committee, which is composed of FRSA members' wives and significant others as well as female FRSA members, is committed to helping those less fortunate. The Ladies' Committee typically is chaired by FRSA's current "first lady," the FRSA president's wife or significant other; at the start of each FRSA presidential term, the first lady chooses a charity project, and during the following year, the committee meets quarterly to coordinate donations.

Since the program's inception in 1992, thousands of dollars worth of materials, goods and funds have been donated to numerous charities.

In 2007, FRSA's Ladies' Committee collected and donated items for women in domestic or economic crises through Shepherd's Promise, Orlando, Fla., and in 2008, the committee donated items to Sheridan House Family Ministries, Davie, Fla.

In 2009, the Ladies' Committee devoted its efforts to a youth service charity with Northland Church in Longwood, Fla. The Ladies' Committee raised money and gathered more than 287 pounds of food donations, which were given to the charity to benefit the homeless.

And this year, proceeds were raised and donated to the FRSA Education Foundation.

Of great significance

A significant amount of charitable work performed by roofing industry members is accomplished through Rebuilding Together,® the U.S.' largest nonprofit organization that focuses on home renovations and NRCA's official charitable organization. Rebuilding Together works to preserve affordable homeownership and revitalize communities by providing free rehabilitation and critical repairs to homes of low-income Americans.

NRCA has been involved with Rebuilding Together for about 12 years and participates in many of the organization's activities and initiatives. NRCA Executive Vice President Bill Good is the chairman of Rebuilding Together's board of directors.

NRCA is a national partner of the organization's Kickoff to Rebuild event, which is held each year the Friday before the Super Bowl in the sporting event's host city. During the event, National Football League players and volunteers join to repair homes in the community.

On Feb. 4, Rebuilding Together hosted its 15th annual Kickoff to Rebuild event in Miami; seven homes in Miami's historic Coconut Grove neighborhood were revitalized.

In July, during Major League Baseball's All-Star Game festivities, Rebuilding Together partnered with Bank of America and the Angels Baseball Foundation to rehabilitate Mary's Kitchen, a local soup kitchen that provides essential services to people in need, including many military veterans.

NRCA also sponsors Rebuilding Together's national golf tournament, the organization's primary fundraising effort. And this year, NRCA's Community Services Committee agreed to give $10,000 to Rebuilding Together's Fifty for Five event, which will focus on rehabilitating 50 homes in New Orleans' Gentilly neighborhood. The event will be held Aug. 24-28, five years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the New Orleans area. NRCA's donation will be used exclusively for roofing work.

Many NRCA members also have been and continue to be actively involved with Rebuilding Together. One such company is Fort Roofing & Sheet Metal Works Inc., Sumter, S.C.

Several years ago, the company helped reroof homes with Rebuilding Together's Christmas in April initiative. More recently, in January, the company was asked to contribute to Rebuilding Together's Veterans Housing initiative, which provides home repairs and modifications for veterans facing financial hardship.

Beth Oshiro, an Army veteran who was stationed in Iraq until she was medically discharged in mid-2009, applied to receive aid from Rebuilding Together to replace the 15-year-old leaking roof system on her home in Litchfield, S.C.—a project that was estimated to cost $39,000. Oshiro and her fiancée, Jay Burton, could not afford the replacement.

The home had been built by Burton's father and was given to the couple by Burton's mother, Janet, after her husband's death 23 years ago. The ailing home had heavy leaks coming through the roof in the bedrooms and den.

Rebuilding Together approved Oshiro's application, but the organization has no affiliates in the Litchfield area.

"Bill Good learned through Rebuilding Together's national office that the organization needed someone to perform work on the home, and he asked us if we could take a look at it," says Will Fort, Fort Roofing & Sheet Metal Works' owner.

Fort Roofing & Sheet Metal Works agreed to repair and replace portions of the home's roof system.

"Litchfield is a 2 1/2-hour drive from Sumter, so we took eight workers to make sure we could finish the job in one day," Fort says.

Crew members removed the low-slope roof's existing EPDM membrane, replaced areas of the wood deck and installed a new EPDM membrane. The crew also inspected the entire roof to ensure it was completely watertight. Overall, the company donated $5,800 worth of material and labor for the project.

Metalcrafts Inc., Savannah, Ga., is another NRCA-member company that has a strong relationship with Rebuilding Together. Metalcrafts is a Silver Foundation Sponsor of Rebuilding Together's Savannah chapter, one of the highest sponsorships available, and Jeffery Lancaster, Metalcrafts' vice president, is the organization's president.

Metalcrafts not only participates in numerous Rebuilding Together Savannah projects each year, but Rebuilding Together Savannah also holds its meetings and various functions at one of Metalcrafts' offices.

The bottom line

There is obviously no shortage of opportunities to help those in need, and roofing professionals are contributing in all kinds of ways. If you are interested in donating time, materials or labor to help someone in need, one way to do so is to become involved with Rebuilding Together. The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress also offers its Pay it Forward program through which you can make charitable contributions.

The bottom line is: Those who can give should seriously consider doing so. It's important to remember that any donation, big or small, and in whatever form, makes a difference in the life of its recipient. There are a million ways to give; all you have to do is pick one.

Ashley St. John is Professional Roofing's associate editor.


Be the first to comment. Please log in to leave a comment.