Once a year, the Pacific Northwest roofing contractor seeks out nominations from the Washington communities it serves and provides a free roof repair or replacement to a homeowner in dire need. Typically, the Halo Project provides one giveaway per year, but the need was so great that Guardian Roofing’s leadership team selected two recipients for 2020.
Then the pandemic took hold, causing economic instability throughout the country while simultaneously emphasizing the need for safe homes protected by well-built roofs. Guardian Roofing, however, wasn’t about to let that get in the way.
“We never could’ve imagined the direction 2020 would’ve gone, but we decided to select two,” said Morgan Roth, marketing coordinator. “We made a commitment to these homeowners that we were going to give them new roofs and we did that.”
Lori Swanson, founder and president of Guardian Roofing, created the Halo Project in November 2018 with the goal of taking care of the communities her company serves.
“We have such wonderful support from our clients and team and vendors, it’s something that we could actually make our own, and we formed the Halo Project to give back to this great community,” Swanson said in a video about the initiative.
The project took off immediately, with its official launch on World Kindness Day in 2018. People can nominate themselves or someone they know who are in desperate need of a major roofing work but cannot afford to take care of it on their own. Nominations are accepted each fall.
Roth said Guardian Roofing, which has previously landed on RC's Top 100 List, receives about 200 nominations each year, making it tough to choose a recipient. However, they welcome any and all nominations, as they know a home is typically the biggest investment that people make.
“The fact that we received so many nominations this year really tells me there is a need and that people are remembering that the Halo Project is there for this specific purpose,” she said. “We really want to help homeowners maintain, if not increase, the value of their home.”
Since its inception, the program has completed three projects, each with its own unique story.
May 2019: Cindy Lu Vaughn
Cindy Lou and Pat Vaughn are known as the neighborhood grandparents, helping out people with whatever they need. However, the couple’s medical bills and health issues prevented them from addressing home renovation projects. As a result, their dilapidated roof remained tarped for more than two years. When Guardian Roofing opened its first-ever nomination process, multiple people suggested the beloved couple.
“She just really stood out to us as a recipient who could do the most good and continue to give by receiving a new roof,” Roth said.
June 2020: Jessica Allen
Jessica Allen, the mother of four and grandmother to five, was the first of two Halo Project recipients in 2020. Her husband, Don, worked as a roofer, but in December 2019 was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Prior to his diagnosis, he began reroofing their home, but after his passing away in January, the family couldn’t handle the repairs while dealing with the loss.
Allen’s daughter nominated them, and Guardian went to work in June, finishing the good work that Don started.
“We felt really honored to be able to help her and see his job completed,” Roth said. “It was really wonderful to help Jessica and take that load off in a way we knew we could do well.”
July 2020: Andrea Bachofer
The second recipient in 2020, Andrea Bachofer is a single mother with an 11-year-old daughter. After saving up enough money, Bachofer purchased a modest home in Issaquah, Wash., but the inspection revealed the attic was covered in mold. Estimates from several contractors revealed Bachofer couldn’t afford the work necessary to fix the attic and roof. That’s when Guardian stepped in, fixing up the home in July.
“Our community is what keeps us busy, so to be able to give back in the way that we can and be able to help, there's nothing more rewarding than that," said Juan Zuniga, production manager, in a video.
Each homeowner expressed their appreciation for Guardian Roofing’s help, though naturally they’re leery at first, wondering what the “catch” is for receiving free roofing services. But, as the roofing contractor points out, there’s no catch.
“You can just tell when you’re talking to these people that there’s such relief and gratitude because it really is a gift, there are no strings attached to it,” Roth said.
Making that gift happen takes both volunteers and materials. Thanks to the support of companies like Owens Corning, GAF, Beacon Building Products, DTG Recycling and High-Point Gutters, Guardian Roofing is able to complete the projects with donated materials while also giving those companies the chance to show their generosity.
When handling the Halo Project jobs, the entire company gets involved. Swanson inspects the roofs herself, while her husband, General Manager Matt Swanson, coordinates the projects with Guardian’s technicians. Not only are workers happy to volunteer their time, but staff who may not normally be on the job pitch in and get their hands dirty.
The Halo Project has had an unintended benefit for the Guardian Roofing as well — providing strength and positivity during these unprecedented times.
“It not only gave us an opportunity to give back, but it also gave us an idea of what our team out in the field does,” Roth said. “That kind of stability is good for our team inside and outside of the office, and it’s good for our clients to know as well that Guardian isn’t going anywhere, we’re a company of our word.”