Contractors Doing Good: Part 2
Philanthropic Projects Strengthen Communities and Build GoodwillKris Hirschmann, Writer
As vital members of the communities they serve, Atlas Roofing and the contractors who use Atlas products are dedicated to philanthropic efforts. Check out these three projects that Atlas sponsored or contributed to in 2019 and 2020, helping homeowners and organizations in need.
St. Jude Dream Home
All-American Roofing of Tupelo, MS, is a recent player in the roofing game, having been founded in 2018. The company has been immediately successful thanks partly to an accident of timing.
“We signed our LLC papers at the end of October in 2018, and the following Monday, a tornado touched down in Tupelo. I jokingly tell my partners that I think it’s God’s way of saying, ‘Here, boys, let me jump start your business.’ We’ve been going wide open ever since,” laughs owner Jerry Hancock.
With its financial success, All-American has wasted no time diving into the local philanthropic scene. The company immediately got involved with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a charity that works to research and defeat childhood cancer, donating a portion of the profits from every roof installed to the charity.
In 2019, Hancock reached out to St. Jude and asked to be involved in its annual Dream Home fundraiser.
“This is one of the largest fundraisers for St. Jude Research Hospital in Memphis,” he explains. “Everyone gives their time to build a house. It’s not just roofing. There’s a plumber, a contractor, an interior designer, a big furniture company that donates the furniture for the home — everything except a car dealership to put a new car in the garage! Usually it’s about a 3,000- to 4,000-square-foot home. St. Jude sells raffle tickets for $100 each to win the home. It’s well worth spending the $100 to win maybe a $400,000 house.”
When asked why he stepped up to the plate for St. Jude, Hancock cites a couple of reasons. First and foremost, he says, “We wanted to give back to this community that is so good to us.”
But the motivation is not completely altruistic. All-American Roofing has reaped all sorts of goodwill benefits from its involvement, which has translated into contracts and sales. “Being involved in a project like this, it’s a way for us to get our name out there in the community — not just Tupelo, but the surrounding area as well,” he says. “Word of mouth is one of the better forms of advertisement, and people are always telling us, ‘We got your name from a social media post about the St. Jude Dream Home. Thank you for being a part of that.’ We’re doing something great and getting exposure at the same time.”
Building on the success of its 2019 efforts, All-American Roofing has every intention of continuing its involvement with the Dream Home initiative in future years. Look for many more All-American roofs on St. Jude homes — and lots more positive feedback from the community in which All-American operates.
Ms. B’s Home
Ben Murphy Roofing
Betty King, an elderly widow, was having problems with her roof.
“It was just constantly leaking, and she was in terrible need of a repair,” recalls Ben Murphy, the owner of Ben Murphy Roofing in Foley, AL. One of Murphy’s employees went to King’s church and heard of the widow’s plight.
“He brought this issue to my attention, and I thought I’d see what I could do. I have a good relationship with Atlas, so I thought I’d call and see what we could figure out.”
Atlas was eager to help. The company — along with the local ABC Supply branch — donated the materials for the job and Murphy donated the time and know-how. The church got involved, too, coming out with food and making quite a production of the event.
“I think Mrs. King was pretty pleased with it,” Murphy laughs. “She started crying. Yeah, it was good.”
When asked why his employee thought to bring the situation to management’s attention, Murphy just shrugs.
“We’ve always tried to find things that we can reach out and help with,” he says. “I’m always ready to do something; you just have to kind of sit back and wait for the right person in the right situation to come along. We were kind of on high alert at the time anyway, looking for someone to help, and when I heard about Mrs. King, it was like, okay, here we go. It was a no brainer. No kind of maintenance had been done to the house since her husband passed several years earlier, and when we went out and looked at it, it was in pretty bad shape. With the leaking and all, of course you have to look after it.”
Not only did Murphy fix the roof, he went above and beyond to get bronze certification for the job — an Alabama enhanced standard that provides a 25% to 35% break on the homeowner’s wind and hail insurance policy.
“So not only did we get her a new roof, we ended up saving her money on her insurance as well,” Murphy explains. And even the insurance break was free to Ms. King because a third-party inspector came out and donated the time to examine the roof.
Murphy posted pictures of the job on social media but did not go to any great efforts to get publicity for his good deed.
“I’m not doing it to get fans or anything,” he chuckles. The reward, in his mind, is the satisfaction of helping someone out. “We enjoy it. It gives everyone something to kind of be proud of,” he says. “It’s a good thing we do.”
Moncks Corner Home
New Beginnings Construction
Sometimes good comes not from philanthropy, but just from quality work well done. Such was the case with a roofing job done by New Beginnings Construction in Moncks Corner, a suburb of Charleston, SC.
In early 2020, a tornado rolled through the area and damaged a number of homes. A New Beginnings roofing job from four years before, however, came through the event with flying colors.
“Literally the house beside it had to be torn down — but the only thing lost on our house was a piece of fascia,” says Toby Wessel, the company’s owner and general manager.
When asked why he thinks his job stood up so well, Wessel cited the product itself and the installation specs. “I think it’s the way that Atlas shingles are designed with that double starter strip on the top instead of the bottom. It’s also our local codes that require us to go a little bit above and beyond the typical nailing pattern. We have a six-nail requirement here for the hurricane codes, but I think that probably helps for a tornado as well.”
New Beginnings is fairly new to the roofing trade and has not done any large-scale charitable roofing jobs yet, although Wessel hopes to in the future. “I wish I could say that we donated a roof, but we haven’t come into a project like that yet,” he explains.
Still, the company is committed to helping the community. “Service is a huge part of our core belief here. It’s just something that we do week in, week out, day in, day out, month in, month out,” Wessel says.
He explains that the company hosts a Food Truck Friday each month where it donates a portion of the money raised to a local charity. New Beginnings has also sponsored school supply drives, animal shelter supply drives, and fundraisers for veterans’ groups. Additionally, the company has what Wessel calls a “blessing box” at its main office. “It’s like a little food pantry, where people can go grab canned goods out of it,” Wessel explains.
The company’s charitable efforts are partly a way of raising awareness at a difficult time. “During COVID, people have started withdrawing and kind of protecting and hoarding everything they have. That’s really when we need to be giving and serving more, is at times like this,” Wessel says.
New Beginnings can do this type of work partly because of its Atlas connection. “We’ve had great success selling Atlas roofs, and it enables us to do charitable work,” Wessel says. “It is who we are, and roofing really helps us.”
Atlas Roofing products used: 67 squares of Pinnacle® Pristine architectural shingles in Pristine Black, 2 rolls of WeatherMaster® Ice & Water underlayment, 17 rolls of Gorilla Guard® felt underlayment, 6 bundles of Pro-Cut® Starter shingles, 6 bundles of Pro-Cut® Hip & Ridge shingles
Helping Communities and People in Need
These examples demonstrate not only Atlas Roofing’s commitment to helping the communities and people it serves, but also the good hearts of many Atlas suppliers as well. The roofing and contractor community, after all, is all about helping people with housing problems and issues. When a company can put its expertise to work fixing roofs for those who truly need help, payment comes in the form of smiles and goodwill rather than dollars and cents — but as these three companies have discovered, the money often follows.