U.S. Navy veteran Willie Brown III recently celebrated his birthday with a new $ 12,000 roof for his Gallatin home.
Best of all, it was free.
Brown’s roof was installed by My Roofing Crew in partnership with Sumner County’s Habitat for Humanity and Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project – a nationwide effort that gives US military veterans back. Since its inception in 2016, the Owens Corning program has provided new roofs to more than 250 military personnel.
“When they got out of here, I could hardly hold back my tears. You came to my aid, ”said Brown. “And the roof holds up fantastically. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. “
The Brown project proved timely after several spring weather events caused its old roof to deteriorate further. Heavy rains and unexpected snowfall in April have frozen the water under the shingles, creating potential structural integrity problems and leaks.
“I had about 13 buckers inside and my ceiling was falling,” said Brown. “It was a nightmare.”
“Finally Peace of Mind”
After applying for assistance to the program on February 24, Brown was approved and was due to receive his new roof in April – waiting less than two months.
The selection process was overseen by Habitat for Humanity of Sumner County, and the work was completed by My Roofing Crew using roofing materials provided by the Owens Corning Foundation and Habitat.
My roofing crew will be in touch with Brown in the coming weeks to make further repairs to his home, officials said.
My roofing crew, a residential and commercial roofer serving home and business owners in the southeast, was born five years ago after founders Noel Garza and Craig Knowles met on a missionary trip to Mexico in 2000.
A 12 year friendship followed, with the two men working together for a full service restoration and roofing company, which led them to form My Roofing Crew and focus solely on the roof.
“We feel incredibly blessed to have been part of the Brown Project,” said Liz Garza, marketing director for My Roofing Crew. “It was a magical day; It was just amazing. “
This was the first time My Roofing Crew, an Owens Corning Platinum Roofing Contractor, has partnered with Habitat for Humanity and the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project.
Garza said it was an honor to receive Owens Corning’s “Platinum Preferred Roofing Contractors” award as the company reached the top tier of roofing professionals selected for their dedication to service and unsurpassed craftsmanship.
The contractors selected for the label make up less than 1% of the roofers in the industry.
A successful build
My roofing crew was dispatched to Brown’s house prior to installation for a structural assessment of the roof’s condition just days before Middle Tennessee was inundated by hail and tornadoes.
Despite a heavy influx of weather-related repairs, company officials viewed the Brown job as a priority, Garza said, and worked hard to keep the project on schedule.
Brown remembers the first time he heard the water lick from the soft tapping on his drums.
As a practicing musician, Brown worked tirelessly to keep his equipment and instruments dry by covering them with plastic and catching falling water in buckets. He recently picked up his guitar and started playing with ‘the boys’ again, practicing on Monday nights.
His band – Cover Boys – plays a mix of country, folk and rock music and is hoping to book more gigs as public spaces keep opening up with ongoing vaccine rollouts and falling COVID-19 case numbers.
His music room was flooded slightly, but luckily nothing was damaged by the rain, he said.
The decking was replaced in a section of the roof where most of the leaks had occurred. Overall, however, the project was completed in just six hours that day.
“Everything was just perfect; It was a wonderful day, ”said Garza of the installation. “We didn’t have any hiccups at all and it couldn’t have been any better.”
An unforgettable birthday
Brown’s 71st birthday was on April 26th – just a few days after the successful roof installation – and made the project an exceptionally memorable birthday present for everyone involved.
“I’m satisfied, I’m blessed, and I’ve finally got some peace,” said Brown. “In my life, at the age of 71, I can say that I have peace.”
Pronounced by his service in his country, Brown recalled a time when being a veteran was unpopular and demonized. He found it difficult to accept his service or share his veteran status with others outside of visiting the local veterans hospital as he and other service men and women were often targeted during times of antiwar movements and protests, he said.
“When we got back we didn’t have a parade,” Brown said of his service in the Vietnam War. “We had no one to thank us.” They called us baby killers so often I wouldn’t even tell people that I’m a veteran. We love our country and risk our lives for our country, and I don’t regret that for a moment. “
Hearing stories like Browns made Garza proud of the impact their organization had on his life.
“As Americans, it is the honor of a lifetime to be able to give back this way when these veterans across the country have sacrificed their lives for my life and all of our lives,” she said.
“Whenever we can help veterans, we’d always appreciate it.”
For more information on the organizations involved in the Brown Project, visit myroofingcrew.com and Habitatsumnercounty.org.
For more information on the rooftop deployment project or to learn more about how you can get involved, contact [email protected]
Katie Nixon can be reached at [email protected] or (615) 517-1285.