On Tuesday, Feb. 21, one day before the 2012 International Roofing Expo officially opened, attendees and exhibitors rolled up their sleeves to participate in Community Service Day, volunteering to help renovate three homes of families in need in Orlando, Fla. The effort was the result of a partnership between the International Roofing Expo, NRCA’s Disaster Relief Committee and the Central Florida chapter of Rebuilding Together, a non-profit, volunteer-based program that repairs and rehabilitates homes and non-profit community facilities. The sponsor of Community Service Day is Sika Sarnafil.

“The International Roofing Expo is so pleased to be part of this exciting day,” said Lindsay Roberts, Director of the Expo. “Our attendees and exhibitors who volunteer to this vital cause will help provide a small piece of the American dream to families in need.”

Jay Thomas of Sika Sarnafil was on hand to work on the project along with several co-workers. “This will be our third consecutive year sponsoring the Community Service Day in conjunction with the NRCA,” Thomas said. “We were interested in finding a unique way to thank our roofing contractor partners for their business throughout the year. I got the idea from a vendor that donated to a local charity in lieu of giving gifts at Christmas. I thought it was a great idea and approached the NRCA about teaming together to assist with a charity. As it turned out, the NRCA was considering getting involved with Rebuilding Together America at the same time. The timing for both of us was good and we have been the main sponsor of this event ever since.”

Brandi McElhaney, Senior Conference Manager for the IRE, handled logistics at the worksites for the third year in a row. “The show was in New Orleans in 2010 and we wanted to help out the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the city,” she recalled. “One of our advisory board members, Bill Good, Executive Vice President, NRCA, is on the board of Rebuilding Together, so we chose Rebuilding Together to partner with in these three cities and they have been a great partner.”

McElhaney noted that some of the Community Service Day projects included replacing the roof on one home, painting three homes, repairing a fence and installing a wheelchair ramp, as well as property cleanup and landscaping. “In addition to these projects, we solicited Tecta America to replace a roof on a transitional woman’s home that provided abused women safe shelter right before the Christmas holiday,” she said.

Volunteer crews from the IRE worked on three area homes. Renovations were performed on the home of Gwen Zackery, Robert Washington, and Lenzo Murrrell. Zackery is a 62-year-old disabled Orlando resident whose disability and fixed income have limited her ability to provide adequate maintenance to her home, which was suffered massive water damage and is in desperate need of fence repair and exterior painting. Washington is an Army veteran who is disabled, as is his wife. Minor repairs are need to the exterior of the house, which also needs to be weatherproofed by sealing and painting the exterior. The Murrell residence needed to be repaired, primed, sealed and painted. Murrell’s roof had previously been replaced with shingles donated by Owens Corning and labor donated by Springer-Peterson Roofing & Sheet Metal.

Rob Springer of Springer-Peterson said his employees were more than happy to help on the project. “The guys we sent over are extremely proud,” he said. “We do 20-25 homes a year with Habitat for Humanity in Lakeland, but we hadn’t worked with Rebuilding Together before. It was great to be involved with the IRE, and it extended our borders a bit. When Bill Good called and asked us to help, we said, ‘Absolutely.’”

Good said he was honored to help out. “This is such a worthy cause to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate,” he said “This is a great opportunity to support the roofing industry, while giving back to the Orlando community.”

McElhaney had high praise for the volunteers as well as the event’s the corporate partners, including her company, Hanley Wood, which presents the IRE. “Hanley Wood is passionate about giving back and we are thrilled to be involved in this project,” she said. “I would like to personally thank Sika Sarnafil, who has graciously sponsored this day for the last three years. They have also agreed to sponsor the event next year.”

“It is a great experience both in terms of the esprit de corps shared with the other volunteers and the knowledge that you are helping someone who is in need of our help,” said Thomas. “The homeowners are truly grateful and touched by our assistance and it just feels good to be able to help.”

“Please join us for our fourth Annual International Roofing Expo Community Service Day on Feb. 4, 2013, in San Antonio,” McElhaney said. “The energy on these days is so contagious; you will never find a more rewarding experience. No specific skills are required, just roll up your sleeves and come join us! As Ed Green, Executive Director, Rebuilding Together Orlando, mentioned during our volunteer day, ‘We are not just transforming homes — we’re transforming lives.’ One of the homeowners this year, Gwen Zackery, was so overwhelmed with gratitude while we were working on her home, she couldn’t stop crying or thanking us. That’s the best reward you can get.”