Whether connected to the U.S. military or not, there are many ways roofing contractors can and will continue to help veterans around the country. Cardinal Roofing in Florida is going above and beyond... literally.
For the second straight year, the Valrico-based roofing company is joining forces with Southeastern Metals (SEMCO) to provide airfare and personal chaperones for veterans yearning to visit the nation’s war memorials in Washington D.C. through Honor Flight.
The non-profit was created solely to honor American military veterans — most who are too frail or unable to travel alone — by transporting them to the nation’s capital for a day they’ll never forget. Priority is given to senior veterans, particularly World War II survivors that have yet to see the World War II Memorial built in 2004. And time is of the upmost importance, as the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates more than 600 WWII veterans die each day.
“That generation was absolutely the best generation. They did their jobs and never talked about how they felt doing what they had to do,” said Cardinal Roofing President Bridget Jenkins Wilson, a third generation roofer who has volunteered as an Honor Flight chaperone on multiple occasions.
“To be able to give them one day where they’re treated like a hero and they can share their stories is a great feeling. It’s such a small thing for us to give them.”
Cardinal has been involved in the project for three years and brought SEMCO on last year as a matching sponsor. Nearly $10,000 was raised in 2014, and Jenkins Wilson said organizers hope to eclipse $15,000 this year.
To help raise funds, Cardinal will host its third annual sporting clays event on Feb. 12 at Fishhawk Sporting Clays in Lithia, Fla. Proceeds will help benefit the Honor Flight of West Central Florida, but Jenkins Wilson said she hopes spreading the word will spur other roofing contractors to find out how they can support their local Honor Flight chapter.
“We know that military families have to serve and sacrifice so much,” she explained. “There’s so much love for veterans in this industry and when it comes down to it, roofing is one of the most giving industries out there. My hope is that we get more involved because there are veterans and Honor Flights in every region.”