Few people have been unaffected by the floundering economy during the past year. Businesses have continued to lose money, forcing some to close and many to lay off employees. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the recession began in December 2007, the number of unemployed people in the U.S. has risen by 7 million and the unemployment rate has increased 4.6 percentage points to 9.5 percent in June.
It has been a difficult year, which makes it even more heartwarming to consider the generous contributions NRCA members and others in the roofing industry have made during the past 12 months.
Every year, Professional Roofing recognizes roofing professionals' acts of charity; following are some noteworthy donations.
In 2004, Dean and Tammie Myslivecek lived with their four children—Daniel, Alyssa, Abigal and David—in North Chili, N.Y. The Mysliveceks planned to remodel their home so they could sell it and move into a newer, larger home—one with enough space in which to raise their children.
In May 2004, these plans halted when Daniel, who was 14, was diagnosed with stage IV malignant melanoma. Daniel received extensive treatment for about two years but passed away in July 2006.
During this time, Sandi and Lou Moneta of Chili, N.Y., first learned of the Mysliveceks' struggles from their daughter, Sarina, who was one of Dean's students at Gates Chili High School. Dean shared his family's struggles with his students, and Sarina was moved by his stories. The Monetas attended Daniel's funeral and remained in contact with the Mysliveceks.
A mere five months later, in January 2007, Abigal (who was 10) was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a blood disorder. In light of their daughter's severe diagnosis and mounting medical bills, the Mysliveceks again postponed any plans to renovate and repair their home.
The Monetas visited Abigal in the hospital and became closer with the Myslivecek family. The Monetas became aware that the Mysliveceks were having difficulty keeping up with their home's needed repairs, and Sandi approached the family with the idea of nominating them for "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." However, when the show did not contact the Monetas after seven months, Lou and Sandi decided to initiate their own "extreme makeover," which they named the Extreme Hope Project. This program, managed by a project team and funded by community members' donations of time, money and materials, was established to renovate and expand the Mysliveceks' home.
One community member that participated in the project was Upstate Roofing & Painting Inc., Rochester, N.Y.
"We were contacted by a friend of the Moneta family, Jeff Vanderveer, who is a project manager for LeCesse Construction, West Henrietta, N.Y., with which we do a fair amount of work," says Dave Pastore, Upstate Roofing & Painting's chief executive officer. "They explained the situation and asked if we could help, so we contacted B&L Wholesale Supply Inc., Rochester, one of our primary suppliers, and asked if it would partner with us to supply the materials for the project if we supplied the labor. The company agreed."
The Extreme Hope Project expanded the size of the Mysliveceks' one-story home by adding a second story on parts of the home. On the remaining one-story areas, the existing roof system was removed and a new plywood deck installed.
An Upstate Roofing & Painting crew of three began work on the home's 30-square roof system April 13. The crew installed two 3-foot-wide rolls of Owens Corning WeatherLock® Self-Sealing Ice & Water Barrier at eave edges and a 30-pound heavy-duty felt underlayment followed by IKO Cambridge 30 AR (East) architectural shingles in weatherwood.
"The building was about 20 feet tall," says Ernie Carnes, Upstate Roofing & Painting's shingle foreman. "All our crew members wore harnesses, and we had toe boards around the roof's entire perimeter."
Upstate Roofing & Painting finished work April 15 after two more crew members helped complete the job. And on May 18, after all other trades had completed their work, the renovated home was presented to the Myslivecek family.
Pastore says: "For me, the reward from being involved with this project is more heartwarming than Habitat for Humanity projects we have been involved with. Although we have a similar situation with the Habitat for Humanity projects, our crew members generally don't interact with the people who will be residing in the homes. With this project, it was so rewarding to have the guys come back at the end of the day beaming with pride and sharing with me thank-you notes and photos they received from the family. You could see how good they felt about what they had done, and to me, that's priceless."
Another commendable charitable program allows roofing companies to assist their communities each year: Indianapolis-based Firestone Building Products Co. LLC's Firestone Community Service Program.
Through this program, Firestone Building Products' Qualified Firestone contractors (Firestone Building Products' licensed roofing contractors who have received the company's Inner Circle of Quality Award or Partner in Quality Award) are awarded material credit for Firestone Building Products' materials installed as part of donated labor community service projects.
During 2008, seven roofing contracting companies participated in the program.
NRCA member Greenberg Roofing, Fargo, N.D., a Tecta America company, donated labor and time to reroof The Salvation Army Fargo Worship and Service Center, which provides counseling, housing, clothing, meals, emergency disaster relief and spiritual ministry to local residents. Greenberg Roofing installed Firestone Building Products' 60-mil-thick fully adhered RubberGard™ EPDM on the building's 640-square-foot roof.
Herzog Roofing, Detroit Lakes, Minn., reroofed the REACH volunteer center in Hawley, Minn., which provides Hawley residents with family support, nonperishable food, reusable items and counseling services. Herzog Roofing installed Firestone ISO 95+™ polyisocyanurate insulation and ballasted 45-mil-thick RubberGard EPDM on the building's roof system.
NRCA member Houck Specialty Contractors, Harrisburg, Pa., reroofed the home of Jim and Linda Litschi, Myerstown, Pa., who won WHTM Channel 27's Midstate Home Makeover Contest. The Litschi family includes 12 adopted children, seven of whom are mentally or physically disabled. More than 60 companies and 300 workers participated in the weeklong project—including a Houck Specialty Contractors crew that installed 1,500 square feet of Firestone ISO 95+ polyisocyanurate insulation and 60-mil-thick RubberGard EPDM on the home, which is more than 150 years old.
NRCA member Nordmann Roofing Co. Inc., Toledo, Ohio, also participated in the Firestone Community Service Program by donating the installation of part of a new roof system to Rossford High School, Rossford, Ohio, to replace the leaking roof system on the school's press box. The new 1,000-square-foot roof system consisted of Firestone ISO 95+ polyisocyanurate insulation and 60-mil-thick fully adhered RubberGard EPDM.
Plescia Roofing Inc., Norwood, N.J., tore off Norwood-based Holy Family Catholic Academy's leaking 20-year-old 160,000-square-foot roof system and installed a Firestone Building Products 60-mil-thick fully adhered UltraPly™ TPO roof system. This project is one of several Plescia Roofing has donated to Holy Family Catholic Academy.
NRCA member Richard L. Sensenig Co., Ephrata, Pa., donated a roof system installation to the Twin Valley Bible Chapel, Narvon, Pa. The company installed 800 square feet of Firestone Tapered ISO 95+ polyisocyanurate insulation and fully adhered RubberGard EPDM.
And NRCA member S.G.O. Roofing & Construction LLC, Lakeville, Minn., installed a 9,100-square-foot roof system on the new American Cancer Society Twin City Hope Lodge in Minneapolis, which provides free housing to out-of-town cancer patients and their families while the patients are undergoing treatment. A 15-person crew installed a Firestone Building Products 60-mil-thick ballasted RubberGard EPDM roof system with 1-inch-thick ISO 95+ polyisocyanurate insulation and 1/4-inch DensDeck™ insulation.
According to Mike Gorey, Firestone Building Products' president and Bridgestone Firestone Diversified Products' chairman, chief executive officer and president, the Firestone Community Service Program has led to more than 60 community service projects since its inception 10 years ago.
"Firestone Building Products is pleased to partner with a growing list of contractors who are enthusiastic about giving back to their local communities," Gorey says. "We applaud the contractors who are dedicated to aiding public, private and nonprofit organizations in need."
During the holidays each year, S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows, Eldersburg, Md., organizes a food drive for Maryland Food Bank, which provides almost 14 million pounds of food annually to soup kitchens, food pantries, emergency shelters, low-income day care centers, after-school programs, senior centers, rehabilitation centers and other programs.
From Nov. 4, 2008, to Dec. 18, 2008, S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows held its fifth consecutive food drive for Maryland Food Bank, collecting food and other nonperishable items at its showroom. According to Charlie McCurry, S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows' sales director and food drive coordinator, Carlisle, Pa.-based EcoStar,® the Marquis Foundation and Brave New Markets made large food and money donations and numerous individuals made smaller donations.
On Dec. 18, Don Katzenberger, S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows' owner, McCurry and others packed up the donations and took them to Maryland Food Bank. The food and other items weighed about 2,000 pounds, and Katzenberger wrote a check to the food bank for $2,000, matching each pound of food collected with a $1 donation.
"The community support we see year to year is remarkable," McCurry says. "Even in tough times like these it is nice to see that people who may not have much of their own are still able to give to others."
And according to Deborah Flateman, Maryland Food Bank's chief executive officer, demand has increased between 25 and 50 percent since January 2008, making donations that much more critical.
"Donations from companies like S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows really make a difference," Flateman says.
Additionally, S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows held a Spring Open House Party May 30 to help local charities. The event, which the company hosted at its home improvement showroom in Eldersburg, featured giveaways, free food, prize drawings worth up to $1,000 of home improvements and—importantly—free booth space for community organizations wishing to raise awareness for charitable causes or community services.
Participating local charity organizations at the event included Pink Cures, which raised almost $200 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; Relay 4 Life; the Chamber of Ravens Nests, an organization for Baltimore Ravens football fans, which raised money for the American Cancer Society; St. Jude's Children's Hospital; and The Buddy Project, an organization that provides used and refurbished computers to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
It would be impossible to write about charity in the roofing industry and not mention Washington, D.C.-based Rebuilding Together, the U.S.' largest nonprofit organization, which works to preserve affordable housing and revitalize communities throughout the country. Rebuilding Together, NRCA's national charity partner, has a network of more than 200 affiliates that provide free rehabilitation and critical repairs for low-income homeowners. Many NRCA members have participated in past Rebuilding Together projects and national initiatives.
Rebuilding Together recently opened a Los Angeles chapter, which aims to repair about 100 homes by the end of 2009. The Union Roofing Contractors Association (URCA), Orange, Calif., has partnered with Rebuilding Together's new chapter to provide ongoing assistance with Los Angeles area projects.
"Our involvement with Rebuilding Together Los Angeles began when I was contacted by Bill Good, NRCA's executive vice president," says Ron Johnston, URCA's executive director. "He told me Rebuilding Together was trying to move forward with its Los Angeles chapter and had its first project in mind. He asked if URCA would be willing to perform the project's roofing work."
The project involved repairing the South Los Angeles home of 54-year-old Leroy Price, who was hit by a car 20 years ago and suffers severe pain in his legs. He also has lost his hearing. He resides with his common-law wife, Sunny Robinson, in his 107-year-old Craftsman-style house, which has been in Price's family for three generations.
A few years ago, the roof began leaking, and the home fell into severe disrepair—every room had extensive water damage, and the electrical wiring was destroyed. In addition, pipelines were broken, which prevented the home's toilets from emptying automatically.
Price, who had little money for repairs and was unable to perform them himself, applied for Rebuilding Together's help. On Feb. 21, Price's wish was granted: Rebuilding Together volunteers and others from various trades gathered at Price's home to paint the walls, clean the backyard, install new windows and kitchen cabinets, refurbish the floors, and install handrails, other supports and a new roof system.
"Five URCA member contractors—NRCA member BEST Contracting Services Inc., Gardena, Calif.; NRCA member Alcal Roofing & Insulation, Corona, Calif.; Anning Johnson, City of Industry, Calif.; NRCA member Eberhard, Van Nuys, Calif.; and NRCA member Coast Roof Co. Inc., Fullerton, Calif.—donated the labor for the project, and NRCA member Allied Building Products Corp., East Rutherford, N.J., provided the materials," Johnston says. "A BEST Contracting Services field supervisor oversaw all aspects of the tear-off and installation and delegated work to the nine crew members from the other companies."
During a three-day period in February, the crew tore off the home's existing wood shake roof system, which was about 1,100 square feet, and installed a 20-year composite shingle roof system.
"It was one of the most meaningful projects URCA has ever been involved with," Johnston says. "Seeing the smiles on the crew members' faces was so rewarding."
NRCA also actively has been involved with Rebuilding Together this year, co-sponsoring Rebuilding Together's 14th annual Kickoff to Rebuild pre-Super Bowl event Jan. 30 in Tampa, Fla.
About 1,200 volunteers, including Rebuilding Together members, NFL players, Tampa community members, and local and national sponsors, gathered in West Tampa to provide needed repairs and energy-efficiency upgrades to 22 homes.
Keith Swope, president of Tampa Roofing Co., Tampa, coordinated the reroofing of a dozen of the homes. Additionally, Bradco Supply Corp., Avenel, N.J., and the West Coast Roofing Contractors' Association helped sponsor the event by donating roofing materials and labor.
NRCA has a Communiy Service and Disaster Relief Committee that manages NRCA's involvement with service and charitable organizations. For more information about how to get involved with Rebuilding Together or NRCA's charitable and community service efforts, contact Bennett Judson, The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress' executive director, at (800) 323-9545, ext. 7513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Alliance also helps people in need through its Helping Our Own program. "A helping hand," Professional Roofing Workers, November 2008 issue, page 18, tells the story of the program's first recipient.
It has been a turbulent year for businesses, and it is difficult enough to keep yourself afloat without worrying about others. But those in the roofing industry realize the importance of continuing to help those in need. That's one of the many great things about this industry: It works as a team, even during the toughest times.
In the words of Dr. Seuss: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
With the continued help of generous roofing professionals, things are bound to get better soon.
Ashley St. John is Professional Roofing's associate editor.