PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Actor Anthony Mackie joins forces with his fellow heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Captain America to help others in need. In an instance of art imitating life, Mackie recently partnered with GAF to help repair roofs damaged by natural disasters in his hometown of New Orleans.
The project has special significance to Mackie, 44, the son of a roofer who spent his teen years working in his family's roofing business in New Orleans. According to the Associated Press, Mackie's family owns Mackie One Construction, which he worked for before becoming an actor and starring in movies like “We Are Marshall” and “The Hurt Locker.” He has appeared in numerous Marvel movies and TV shows as Sam Wilson — a.k.a. Falcon — and is taking over the Captain America role.
“Growing up, I spent summers working on roofs with my family, so I know how important this work is to keeping families safe and building stronger communities,” said Mackie in a release. “Everyone deserves a roof over their head, and I’m proud to be working with GAF to give back to my hometown and ensure we withstand the next storm.”
According to FEMA, over 10,000 families remain displaced and unable to return home following last year’s Hurricane Ida. Nearly 20 years after Hurricane Katrina, an estimated 26% of homes are still vacant in New Orleans’ 7th Ward. Blue tarps strewn over multiple roofs have become a visual representation of the devastation. GAF is committing to repairing or replacing 500 roofs throughout the Gulf Region, starting with 150 roofs in the 7th Ward.
"It gives me a sense of pride that I'm doing my people a service. I know what people go through in this neighborhood because I was born in this neighborhood, I grew up in this neighborhood," Mackie told the Associated Press. "It's important to me to bring back the gifts and blessings I received outside the city."
In addition to partnering with GAF’s network of roofing contractors to support this initiative, the company will train members of the community in essential roofing skills through the GAF Roofing Academy and provide resources to nonprofit partners, including Rebuilding Together, Habitat for Humanity, Team Rubicon, Good360 and SBP, to employ these individuals to support rebuilding efforts.
“After a disaster, resources for impacted communities tend to diminish as attention shifts elsewhere,” said Jim Schnepper, CEO of GAF. “Our goal is to create lasting resilience by rebuilding in communities where progress has stalled. We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Anthony to bring awareness to the challenges of long-term disaster recovery, and to continue our work with local non-profit organizations to help members of the New Orleans community return to their homes.”
View the Associated Press' video for more information about the project.