By Cass Jacoby, RCS Reporter.
It’s not every day that someone knocks on your door and offers you a free roof valued at $7,000, so when just that happened to Jim Hodgson, his jaw hit the floor. The Navy veteran told the Times News, “I didn’t see this one coming.”
70-year-old Jim and his 65-year-old wife Angelina have lived on Ridgeway Avenue in Church Hill for the past 17 years. The couple met while serving in the Navy together in the early 1970s during the Vietnam War. Jim’s job was to launch jets off the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal.
“I was the one who touched the deck and held my head down as the jet went over my head,” Jim said. “I was all over the place. Indian Ocean, North Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea — wherever they sent the aircraft carrier and the battle group. The USS Forrestal was the first super-carrier. We were an enormous ship. We had 5,200 sailors on board.”
The couple put a new roof on their home shortly after moving in, but it wasn’t until their recent gutter installment that they realized their roof had reached the end of its lifespan.
“The gentleman who was doing the gutters mentioned that the shingles were starting to crack,” Jim told the Times News. “I mentioned to my wife, ‘That’s another thing we need to start saving for.’” But the team from Model City Roofing knew the roof the couple currently had couldn’t wait any longer to be replaced.
“He had a lot of lifted shingles,” the general manager of Model City Roofing, Jared Adams told the Times News. “There was a little bit of wind damage up there and the shingles were raised. Of course, he had some cracking, and the chimney needed to be re-flashed too.” Jared estimated the roof would start leaking soon.
As fate would have it, the Hodgsons’ neighbors work for the Kingsport Chamber, and, knowing that they were veterans in need and that Model City Roofing was looking for a new project for their community outreach program, arranged to get the couple a new roof.
Vice President of MCR Brian Ritz told the Times News, “We reached out to the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce — of course Miles Burdine and his team at the chamber — as well as Sam Jones with the Tri-Cities Military Advisory Council. We met at the chamber and talked about a good opportunity here at this house to give back to the community, and again, just a small token of gratitude to two very deserving veterans.”
Before Jim knew it, there was a gentleman knocking at Jim’s door to inform him he would be receiving a new roof. “One day, Sam Jones, knocked on our front door out of the blue,” said Jim. “He said, ‘I understand you and your wife are U.S. Navy veterans, and we would like to help by putting a new roof on your house.’ That one knocked me for a loop. That was right out of the blue. It took me totally by surprise. It just surprised me that there was such an organization, and when they knocked on the door, I felt so honored.”
“This is just a small token of gratitude to two people who have protected our freedom,” said Brian Ritz. “We’re very proud to do this and be involved in this. We actually put on a new architectural roof, and of course we installed drip edges along the sides, flashed their chimney, and put a new ridge vent up for them, and put a new architectural shingle up that is going to go well with their house.”
“I’m glad my chair was close by on the porch. I thank all the gentlemen, and saying thank you is not enough,” Jim told the Times News. “They did such a wonderful job, and I appreciate these gentlemen. I’m just overwhelmed.”
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Photo credit: Times News