For the past decade, roofing contractors and other roofing industry professionals have made a tradition of leaving a little bit of roofing behind — literally and figuratively — in the host city of the International Roofing Expo® .
The call went out again for IRE attendees to respond to residents of Nashville in need, and more than 70 volunteers from all facets of the roofing industry responded by donating their time, expertise and sheer muscle to help give back. More still contributed with financial donations and in-kind materials as part of the 10th annual IRE Community Service Day.
As it has for the past 10 years, Sika Sarnafil stepped forward as the event’s primary sponsor and brought about a dozen volunteers.
“The IRE Community Service Day is something we all look forward to every year. The entire effort says a lot about the industry and it’s an honor to be involved in it since the beginning,” said William Bellico, Sika’s director of marketing.
Additional contributions from several other companies, including OMG Roofing Products; Carlisle Construction Materials; ICP Building Solutions Group; Damato Enterprises; CentiMark and Don Kennedy Roofing Co., of Nashville.
“We are going into our 10th year of the Community Service Day and I can definitely say that this is my favorite part of my job,” said Brandi McElhaney, senior conference manager. “I love giving back to others and it’s clear that the roofing industry feels the same way.”
The IRE again partnered with Rebuilding Together’s local affiliate, Rebuilding Together Nashville, a nonprofit, volunteer-based program that repairs and rehabilitates homes and nonprofit community facilities. This year, the group targeted the Cleveland Park neighborhood of East Nashville, located just across the Cumberland River from downtown.
Seventy-five volunteers registered to work together to help rebuild the homes of five homeowners unable financially to make costly but necessary home improvements. They also work on a local community center used by the Boys and Girls Club of Middle Tennessee.
“We had applications from several homeowners and wanted to help those with the most serious needs,” said Kaitlin Dastugue, executive director of Rebuilding Together Nashville. “But we also saw that we could make a larger impact in the community by making a larger investment at a place that’s such an asset to the neighborhood.”
Since 2015, the average daily attendance at the club ballooned from 12 children to 145 in school year and 220 in the summer last, said Herb Myers, unit director of the Cleveland Park Boys & Girls Club.
As the local population grew, so did the space needs for the local community group. Particular needs were for more cubby space, painting and shelving in a storage closet that will help house athletic gear and other equipment that currently has no resting space.
“We hope that at the end of it, on Monday, those kids will be walking into a really uplifted space and they can see all the hard work volunteers did to make their center more special,” she said.
Having a skilled group of volunteers was especially welcomed.
“We worked really hard to find the right scope of work that volunteers can come in and get done in one day,” Dastugue said. “We realized we could do a lot of things with this skilled group of volunteers. Don’t want to pass up the opportunity.”
Don Kennedy roofing replaced a roof for one woman who said she received a letter from her insurance company saying she was at risk of losing her coverage unless she sought immediate roof repairs that she could not afford on her fixed income.
Dastugue said East Nashville is historically known as some of the most affordable real estate surrounding the city, but Nashville’s explosive growth in recent years has put significant pressure on many of the homeowners to remain in that area.
Homeowner Ivy McGee said she was ecstatic to learn the roofing industry responded in such a big way to help her keep in her first home.
“I feel so blessed,” said the retired grandmother of seven. “This is my first house and it means everything to me. I can’t explain it. I pray these changes will help keep me here.”
That’s part of what moved Lisa Irby, of Mobile, Ala.-based Thomas Roofing, to get involved.
“Just knowing that you did something for the community feels great,” said Irby, who helped remove carpet and replace a toilet in one home. “Even if it’s not in our own geographic area, but going everywhere.”
Art Aisner is editor of Roofing Contractor. He can be reached at 248-244-6497 or firstname.lastname@example.org.