Leave No Man Behind

Neighbors And Atlas Team Up On New Roof For Disabled Vet

Oliver Olinger, Writer
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On a cul-de-sac in Ocoee, FL, neighbors still take care of one another. Art Burkholder, a 74-year-old retired and disabled veteran, recently discovered that human kindness, compassion and charity are still alive and well in our world.

Burkholder has lived in his home since 1989. He suffered a stroke in 1998 and a heart attack just two years later. Now Burkholder, who lives on a modest fixed income, is battling cancer.

Burkholder, an Army sergeant from 1963-67, worked for BP in Alaska and on the West Jefferson Levee in New Orleans for several decades after his military service, but due to his health setbacks is now too disabled to work. In his retirement, Burkholder has taken to carving soapstone figurines, which are on display everywhere in his home.

Foreclosure Scare

When Burkholder’s home insurance lapsed, he couldn’t get it renewed without having a new roof installed. And without insurance, his bank placed him into a state of forced foreclosure.

He couldn’t afford to fix the roof, and he couldn’t afford to move. Burkholder received the foreclosure notice in August 2016. In a panic, he finally went to neighbor Tami Kneidinger for help.

Those who live on Burkholder’s street are like a close-knit family. Kneidinger, who lived next door to Burkholder for 15 years, and his other neighbors put together a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money needed to install a new roof. They wanted to keep him at home, near the people who care about him.

The campaign raised about a third of what was needed to fix Burkholder’s roof — nowhere near the goal. So Kneidinger and another neighbor started writing letters asking for help.

One of the letters came to the attention of Victor Osage of G&A Certified Roofing in Winter Park, FL, and Colin Hobbs of Atlas Roofing, who agreed to supply Burkholder with 33 squares of shingles directly from Atlas.

A Job Well Done

"If it weren't for Atlas, none of this would have worked out," Kneidinger said in an interview during which she and Burkholder proudly showed off his home and raved about the sense of community and family on their small cul-de-sac.

Osage and his G&A Roofing team replaced the roof in November 2016. The crew fixed several leaking deck boards, cut away low-lying tree branches and installed Atlas Pinnacle® Pristine asphalt shingles in Pristine Desert and Summit® 60 synthetic underlayment, making the whole house look almost new again.

“It was an honor to be able to do this for Mr. Burkholder,” Osage said. “He is a wonderful man and obviously loved by his entire neighborhood.

“The Pinnacle Pristine shingles featuring Scotchgard™ Protector will protect him and his home for many years to come.”

Charity Wins The Day

In January 2017 — thanks to G&A Certified Roofing and Atlas Roofing, together with Kneidinger and all of Burkholder’s generous neighbors — the new roof was approved and the Army vet is no longer facing foreclosure.