This past weekend a team of over two dozen volunteers led by NeighborLink board member, Brett Meyer, helped a neighbor named Esther get a new roof on her small, 1-story ranch home on the SE side of Fort Wayne. Any time we're able to help a neighbor with a major project, like a roof, we get excited because it just doesn't happen that often. Esther was one of 96 requests for roofing assistance this year, and only one of 7 neighbors that received a new roof or roof repair this year. Finding contractors, skilled volunteers, and the resources required to help with them is complicated.
This project got started after Brett came to us wanting to raise money for NeighborLink by running the Fort 4 Fitness half marathon, and then committing to be the coach of the project he fund raised for. Because roofing is tough, he chose to focus on one of the hardest projects as a way to solidify his commitment to do hard things. Jeff Shatto, NL Director of Mobilization, partnered with Brett to find a project that met the scope of work we knew volunteers could take on. The project had an estimated cost of around $2,700, which was more than what Brett thought he could raise on his own, but he committed to it and we ended up having another Team NeighborLink athlete training for a different half-marathon ask if she could raise funds for us as well. So, Brett committed to raising $2000 and Lily committed to $750, which was what we needed. Through their networks of friends and family as well as NLFW's promotional efforts, we were able to secure all the funding required the week of the project. We love when things come together.
On Friday & Saturday, Oct 16-17th, these volunteers completely tore of three layers of shingles, made some significant decking repairs, and were able to get all the new shingles put on by late Saturday afternoon. Volunteers from Wiegand Construction provided leadership Friday and Ed Cooper of Best Roofing led the team on Saturday. Both days we had fantastic volunteers, really good weather, and no issues that weren't easily overcome. One of the easiest roofing projects we've done in a long time.
Esther was extremely grateful for helping her stay independent and keeping her home secure. She's a mother of four daughters, has several grandkids, and even great-grandkids, not to mention the 19 children she fostered over the years. She had a stroke several years ago and just recently had stomach surgery. She was moving kind of slow the days we were there and told us that she had "Stitches for Inches."
We enjoyed getting to know her and for the opportunity to see so many volunteers jump right in to help out. Thank you to the 33 donors that donated an average of $88 to make this project happen. We hope you feel just as much a part of this project as those running the nail guns. We couldn't do this work without either of you.