Contractors Doing Good
Giving Back to Communities During COVID-19 and BeyondKris Hirschmann, Writer
In mid-March 2020, the United States began grinding to a halt as COVID-19 erupted into a global pandemic. States canceled events, ordered businesses to shut down and instituted stay-at-home orders for citizens. Only essential functions were allowed to continue.
Roofing and other construction services were among these essential functions. Contractors all over the nation stepped up to keep things running smoothly during the national lockdown — and some did much more than that. They saw people in desperate need and found practical ways to help.
Check out these inspirational stories of roofing contractors who came through in a big way during COVID-19 — and beyond.
Hauling Pet Food Instead of Shingles
For Jeff Hewitt and Trevor Switzer, owners of Gold Key Roofing in Orlando, FL, helping the community isn’t just a one-time effort, it’s a way of life.
Gold Key takes part in an ongoing initiative called the Family Connection with a local TV station. “It’s a group of four companies that come together and help charities all year long,” Hewitt explains.
One charity on the Family Connection list is the Pet Alliance, an organization that shelters homeless cats and dogs and places them for adoption. As the COVID crisis ramped up to full gear, Hewitt recalls receiving an email stating that the Alliance was short on food. “I came in that day and told Trevor, ‘Come on. We’re going to Costco.’ It was just kind of an instinct thing.”
The partners headed out in their work truck and loaded the flatbed with a pallet each of dog food and cat food. The bounty was gratefully received at the Pet Alliance, where volunteers portioned the food into large baggies and handed them out to needy pet owners.
It turned out that Gold Key’s impulsive act of good had more impact than Hewitt and Switzer even anticipated. “It caused a ripple effect,” Hewitt says. “I got some really nice postcards and thank-you notes from people telling me that they had lost their job, and if it wasn’t for us, either they or their pet would not be eating right now. It was really moving. But you know, it’s just kind of what we do. We try to do what’s right.”
Good Work Gets Good Results
Sometimes great good comes not from grand charitable gestures, but from everyday actions. Allcon Roofing of Greenville, SC, proved this principle in a recent incident.
The company replaced the roof on the Seneca Baptist Church in nearby Seneca — a big job that involved tearing off and replacing 670 squares of shingles. Allcon used Atlas Pinnacle® Pristine shingles in Pristine Black with matching Pro-Cut® Hip & Ridge shingles, as well as Summit® 60 underlayment.
In April 2020, just three weeks after the last nail was driven, a major tornado with 200-mph winds came through and flattened the whole area. “It was like a war zone,” recalls Craig Perfect, the company’s owner.
But in the midst of the “war zone,” something amazing had taken place. Perfect recounts the tale: “The tornado destroyed a building in back of the church. It also tore up and lifted the membrane roof on top of the church and blew off the steeple. But not a single shingle was blown off the main roof of the church, which was pretty impressive,” he says.
Perfect attributes this result to quality workmanship. “We used the best products on the market from Atlas. We also installed all of it with six nails as opposed to the standard four-nail installation of shingles. I’d say it was just good product and good installation.”
Ryan Perry, senior pastor of Seneca Baptist Church, mostly agrees with this assessment.
“I would say it was good craftsmanship and good shingles and just having been recently done and done well.” However, Perry adds another factor: the grace of God. “We are so thankful,” he says. “Only one person died in the tornado, and we attribute that to God’s protection.”
It’s certainly possible that the church’s roof benefited from divine help — but solid workmanship probably didn’t hurt, either.
Free Roofs for the Needy
It didn’t take a pandemic to set Lafayette Roofing of Lafayette, LA, on the path to doing good. The company has been giving free roofs to needy recipients for many years through initiatives such as Roofs for Troops (which helps military veterans), Blue Roofs (which helps police officers) and other projects.
In early 2020, the company was looking for its next charitable project, which would target someone who was actively helping the community.
“We were looking at teachers and first responders — nurses. Then COVID hit,” says Darren Domingue, the company’s owner. “We wanted to share the love, and we decided to give a free roof to somebody in the medical field.”
The company publicized the initiative and asked for applications on its website. As of June 2020, more than 200 submissions had been received. No decision has been made, but the company is working on it.
“Some of these stories are pretty sad,” Domingue says. “We have some pretty good candidates, that’s for sure.”
It’s all in a day’s work for Lafayette Roofing, which holds community service as one of its core values.
“When we started this company and talked about our vision of success, it wasn’t just about making money. It was also about what we could do for our community and giving back as much as we can,” Domingue says. “Contractors sometimes have a bad name. But I knew that if I saw these folks at a football game or the store, I wanted to be able to shake their hand. And once we started doing that, it just felt awesome.”
So awesome, in fact, that Lafayette Roofing has every intention of continuing to contribute its roofing expertise for the public good, one free roof at a time.
“There’s no better feeling than truly helping out and giving back, and this is really the only way we know how,” Domingue says.
It may be the only way, but it’s a good one. Lafayette Roofing’s free roof initiatives are life-changing for the people who benefit.
More Free Roofs
Carolina Roof Consultants of Charlotte, NC, is employing a similar strategy to benefit its community. The company has provided free roofs for three nurses on the front lines of the COVID battle. Originally, the company held a random drawing for just one free roof, but owner Mike McCoy found some of the applicants’ tales so gut-wrenching that he was inspired to do more.
“There were several stories that really stuck with me…” he explains. “I couldn’t stop thinking about them. So, I reached out to those nurses individually and gave those roofs away too.”
Somewhat ironically, the COVID crisis that has brought crippling financial hardship to so many people was responsible for giving Carolina Roof Consultants the means to do this good work. As an essential business, the company found itself busier than ever during the pandemic.
“Our volume was high and our profits were high at the same time as we saw lots of people struggling and not making it, and basic needs weren’t being met,” McCoy explains. “We decided that it was the perfect opportunity to step in and help.”
The help won’t stop with just three roofs. Carolina Roof Consultants fully intends to do more — and McCoy offers strong words of encouragement for others to do the same.
“Anyone who owns a business that is experiencing record profits during a time of unparalleled suffering and fear, now is a perfect time to start giving,” he says. “Give publicly, give privately, give little, give big. Just give.”
“And there isn’t any better way to help than to give people the most basic need in their home, which is a roof over their family’s head.”
All of these stories have something in common. They remind us that in times of need, anyone can step up and make a difference — and roofing contractors, with their specialized equipment and expertise, are in a prime position to help.
Companies like Gold Key Roofing, Allcon Roofing, Lafayette Roofing and Carolina Roof Consultants are not only doing good, they are also reaping benefits in goodwill that will last long after the pandemic is over.