US Navy veteran Willie Brown III recently celebrated his birthday with a new $ 12,000 roof for his Gallatin home.
The best part: it was free.
Brown’s roof was installed by My Roofing Crew, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Sumner County and Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project – a nationwide effort giving back to US military veterans. Since its inception in 2016, the Owens Corning Program has delivered new roofs to more than 250 military members.
“When they came out here, I could barely hold back my tears. They came to my rescue, ”said Brown. “And the roof holds up fantastically. I couldn’t have wished for better. “
The Brown project came at the right time after several spring weather events led to further deterioration of its old roof. Heavy rains and unexpected snowfall in April froze puddles of water beneath the shingles, causing potential structural integrity issues and leaks.
“I had about 13 buckets inside, and my ceiling was coming down,” said Brown. “It was a nightmare.”
‘Peace of Mind at Last’
After applying for help with the program on February 24, Brown was approved and scheduled to receive his new roof in April – he waited less than two months.
The selection process was overseen by Habitat for Humanity of Sumner County, and work was completed by My Roofing Crew using roofing materials from the Owens Corning Foundation and Habitat.
My Roofing Crew will be contacting Brown in the coming weeks to make further repairs to his home, officials said.
My Roofing Crew, a residential and commercial roofer who serves home and business owners in the Southeast, was born five years ago after founders Noel Garza and Craig Knowles met in 2000 on a mission trip in Mexico.
A 12-year friendship developed where both men teamed up for a full-service restoration and roofing company, which led them to form My Roofing Crew and focus solely on roofing.
“We feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of (the Brown Project),” said Liz Garza, Marketing Director of My Roofing Crew. “It was a magical day; it was just so great. “
This was the first time My Roofing Crew, an Owens Corning Platinum Roofing Contractor, partnered with Habitat for Humanity and the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project.
It has been an honor to earn Owens Corning’s Platinum Preferred Roofing Contractors status, Garza said, as it shows that the company is reaching the pinnacle of roofers chosen for their dedication to service and unparalleled craftsmanship.
Contractors selected for the designation represent less than 1% of the roofers in the industry.
A successful build
My roof crew was sent to Brown’s house prior to installation for a structural evaluation of the roof’s condition just days before Middle Tennessee was inundated with hail and tornadoes.
Despite a hefty influx of repair work due to the weather, Garza said company officials considered the Brown job a priority and worked hard to keep the project on track.
Brown remembers hearing the water leak for the first time from the soft knock against his drums.
As a practicing musician, Brown worked tirelessly to keep his equipment and instruments dry by covering them with plastic and collecting falling water in buckets. He recently picked up his guitar and started playing with ‘the boys’ again while practicing Monday night.
His band – Cover Boys – plays a mix of country, folk and rock music and hopes to book more gigs as public spaces continue to open up with continued vaccine rollouts and declining COVID-19 cases.
His music room had minor flooding, but thankfully nothing was damaged by the rain, he said.
In part of the roof, the decking boards were replaced where most of the leaks were found, but in total the project was completed that day in just six hours.
“Everything was just perfect; it was a beautiful day, ”said Garza of the installation. “We had no hiccups at all, and it couldn’t have gone better.”
A birthday to remember
Brown’s 71st birthday was on April 26 – just days after the successful roof installation, making the project an exceptionally memorable birthday present for everyone involved.
“I am satisfied, I am blessed and finally have peace of mind,” said Brown. “In my life, at the age of 71, I can say that I have peace of mind.”
Now open about his service to his country, Brown recalled a time when veteran was unpopular and demonized. He found it difficult to embrace his service or share his veteran status with others outside of visiting the local veteran hospital, as he and other serving men and women were often targeted during an era of anti-war movements and protests, he said.
“When we got back, we didn’t have a parade,” Brown said of his service in the Vietnam War. “No one thanked us. They called us baby killers, so often I wouldn’t even tell people I was a veteran. We love our country and risk our lives for our country, and I don’t regret it for a moment . “
Hearing stories like Brown’s has made Garza proud of the impact her organization has had on his life.
“As an American, the sacrifice of these veterans across the country who sacrificed their lives for my life and all of our life, it is the honor of a lifetime to be able to give back in this way,” she said.
“Anytime we can help veterans, we would always welcome it.”
To learn more about the organizations involved in the Brown project, visit myroofingcrew.com and habitatsumnercounty.org.
Contact [email protected] to learn more about the Roof Deployment Project or learn more about how to get involved.
Katie Nixon can be reached at [email protected] or (615) 517-1285.
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