On Monday, February 4, International Roofing Expo attendees and exhibitors teamed up with Rebuilding Together San Antonio and the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) to help out homeowners in need. It marked the fourth straight year that volunteers pitched in to help with renovations the day before the official opening of the IRE. Community Service Day is sponsored by Sika Sarnafil.
Volunteers worked on two homes this year in San Antonio. At the Merendon home, work included replacing windows, installing security doors, siding and painting. Prior to the event, the roof was replaced by Fort Worth-based Benco Roofing. At the Luna home, a crew of volunteers repaired the front and back porch while others replaced the skirting on the home, repaired the eaves, and did some painting and general cleanup work.
IRE Senior Conference Manager Brandi McElhaney coordinated the effort for the fourth straight year. She mapped out the logistics for the day, shepherded the volunteers and still found time to help out with repairs as well.
McElhaney has seen firsthand how the event has helped needy homeowners. “We have literally transformed the lives of every homeowner that we help,” she said. “Gwen Zackery in Orlando comes to mind. Last year we installed a new bathroom in her home, as she did not have a properly functioning shower or toilet. We were able to help her in so many ways. She cried the entire day and could not stop hugging and thanking each and every volunteer. Whether it’s replacing a much-needed roof, or just putting on a new coat of paint on a home, all homeowners are overwhelmed with the compassion and selflessness of our volunteers.”
She singled out the event’s main sponsor, Sika Sarnafil, for a special thank you. “Sika Sarnafil has been our sponsor for the last four years and they have been very pleased with the event,” she said. “They have also continued their partnership with Rebuilding Together on their own volunteer days. The volunteers of this day are overjoyed when they see the results of their efforts and how we can literally transform a home in one day. Also, when they see the appreciation of our homeowners, it makes all of the hard work worthwhile.”
Jay Thomas, Director of Marketing for Sika Sarnafil, agrees. “Social responsibility is important to Sika,” he said. “The Community Service Day is a great opportunity for us to partner with the NRCA to give back to the local community. We were very impressed with the Rebuilding Together organization in the first year and have enthusiastically supported the event ever since.”
Thomas has been on hand to volunteer at each of the four IRE-related events. “At the risk of sounding cliché, it is an extremely rewarding experience,” he said. “The sense of camaraderie with the fellow volunteers and the expression of gratitude and joy by the homeowners make you feel good and that you have made a difference in their lives.”
“The homeowners are overjoyed, sometimes to the point of tears,” Thomas said. “Many had previously been taken advantage of by unscrupulous people who walked away with their money without completing the work they claimed they would do. The dichotomy of that situation with a bus full of volunteers showing up and working all day on their house is quite a contrast for them.”
The NRCA helped launch this event four years ago. According to the NRCA Executive Vice President William Good, it’s a natural fit for the association. “Community service is part of the NRCA effort to tell the story of the good work our members do every day, in communities all over the country,” he said. “Businesses that do good deeds are almost always good businesses.”
“I’ve had the opportunity to be personally involved with our partnering organization, Rebuilding Together, for the last six years,” Good continued. “It’s an amazing organization — rebuilding some 10,000 homes a year through a network of more than 100,000 volunteers.”
McElhaney, Thomas and Good noted all parties plan to continue the tradition in Las Vegas at next year’s IRE. Make plans to arrive a day early to help out and join in the fun.
Good summed up the experience this way: “The very best part of being involved in these projects is seeing the impact we can make on people’s lives. The homeowners that are selected for these projects simply don’t have the resources to keep their homes in good repair. And I’m not sure who benefits the most — the homeowners themselves or the volunteers who do the work. That’s what makes this day so special.”