As we approach the end of another year it is time to give thanks and for many to “give back”. It is unfortunate that many of us do not have as much to give back as in years past, but it is important that we do the best we can. 

As we approach the end of another year it is time to give thanks and for many to “give back”. It is unfortunate that many of us do not have as much to give back as in years past, but it is important that we do the best we can. In the roofing industry, even in these tough economic times, there are many examples of contractors and suppliers giving back to the communities that support them.

In 2010 we saw contractors stepping up to help homeowners who had been ripped off by contractors who took their money as deposits for roofing work then filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The victims in these situations are not all destitute but many lacked the resources to pay for the work after having some or all of their insurance money taken and no work completed.

We have recently received reports from state and local roofing contractors’ associations whose members have come together to furnish a roof for persons and organizations in need. One such event was put on by the Northeast Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Contractors Association (NEFRSA). The group rescued the roof of cancer victim Madeline Cunningham. The chronically leaking flat roof needed extensive woodwork in addition to basic roofing and waterproofing efforts. The Association recognized personnel from Champion Roofing Services, who performed the work; Chuck Gibson with the Duval County Building Inspection Division for assistance in the permitting and inspection of the project; At Your Disposal for refuse/container service; JGA/Southern Roof Center; Sunniland Corp.; and Suncoast Roofers Supply for contributions of building and roofing materials.

Our good friend, Steve Gotschi, owner of DryHome Roofing and Siding, Inc. in Sterling, Va., has once again launched his “Free Roof for the Holidays” program. Steve reaches out to his clients and friends to solicit nominations for the most deserving recipient of a free roof. Year after year his firm donates a complete roofing job with assistance from suppliers such as The Roof Center and CertainTeed Roofing, who have joined with Steve in years past. We look forward to hearing about this year’s project.

Others are too numerous to mention. If you ever wondered what drives people and organizations to work hard all year to run a tight ship just to turn around and give a chunk of it away, I am not sure I can explain it. As a Habitat for Humanity volunteer for over twenty years, I can only speak for myself. Simply put: you get back more than you give. You can try and try but you will never get ahead. To this day I do not miss one minute of time spent helping with a charitable building project and I do not miss a penny of the money spent on the effort or contributed toward them.

If you have not had the experience, I recommend it. Join in a project with your roofing or civic association or your church. Or do like Steve Gotschi and just find a way to do a project on your own. And if it is too late this year, start planning for the next holiday season. Don’t worry - the need will be there.