By Lauren White, RCS Reporter.
When buying the house she lives in now, Lori-Lee Adams, a disabled veteran, knew the roof would need to be repaired or replaced at some point. “I knew I’d at least have to have it repaired, but most recently, some of it started to fall in on the garage, and I wondered how I could afford to replace it,” Lori-Lee explained in her interview with the Greenfield Recorder.
Thankfully she found the Beacon of Hope contest that Beacon Roofing Supply hosts annually. This contest is designed to give back to veterans who have sacrificed so much for the United States and to provide them with a safe, sturdy, and healthy place to live. Beacon Roofing Supply works with other veteran friendly roofing companies to repair or replace the roofs of five military veterans. Contestants are nominated for this award and then must get votes to determine the finalists.
Lori-Lee joined the military right after graduating high school in 1989. After serving in the U.S. Air Force for four years, she returned to Turner Falls, Massachusetts. Unable to find work there, she moved to North Carolina for 10 years. In 1996, she was in a major car accident that left her disabled. Lori-Lee shared, “I broke my back, it crushed my pelvis and I had a severe brain injury. I had significant spinal problems, and I often fell.”
The Veterans Administration “provided her with all of the equipment and care she needed to get around…” reported the Greenfield Recorder. Once she was back on her feet, Lori-Lee attended college and earned her bachelor’s degree in speech language pathology and her masters in communication disorders. Currently she works in the Springfield Public Schools as a speech language pathologist.
She later moved back to Turner Falls to help her mother and her stepfather who had fallen ill. It was during that time that she bought the house she lives in now with her two dogs. Oreo is her service Great Dane, and Owen McGee is a Miniature Pinscher mix.
Her mother nominated Lori-Lee as one of the Beacon of Hope contestants. Hearing this, she went right to work campaigning for votes. Lori-Lee revealed in her interview, “I would talk to anyone and everyone and ask them to vote for me...They all seemed pretty happy to do so, and they thanked me for my service.”
Lori-Lee sought out votes at the Greenfield Farmers Market, the Great Falls Festival, and even at Connecticut Sun basketball games, her favorite team. Every ask was met with a resounding “Yes!” She shared that, “People would tell me they were going to get everyone at their work to vote for me.”
The community also rallied for Lori-Lee. Local business and the Montague Center Fire Department were asking for votes for her. The Disabled American Veterans of Greenfield and the local Civil Air Patrol were also doing their part for Lori-Lee because of her involvement with them.
She told the Greenfield Reporter with a laugh, “I really wanted to win.” And her efforts paid off. Her willingness to talk with everyone and share her story, in addition to the community support, helped Lori-Lee become one of the recipients of a new roof. She explained, “I was one of 10 finalists...When the final votes were tallied— I don’t know how many I received— I was one of the five winners, and I am the only veteran in New England to win.”
Lori-Lee is overcome with gratitude for every single vote she received. She told the Greenfield Reporter, “I know it only took a few seconds of their time, but it means so much...It’s really encouraging. I’m so humbled.” Thanks to the community support, Lori-Lee doesn’t have to stress financially about finding a way to afford roof repairs, and she doesn’t have to fret about any more parts of her roof falling in another part of the house. “It is going to make a huge difference in my life,” Lori-Lee commented.
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