By Cass Jacoby, RCS Reporter.
The roof of veteran Juan Manrique’s home on the 1000 block of St. Mary’s Street had been leaking since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Juan reports that he would have to rearrange his belongings every time it rained so that they wouldn’t get destroyed.
Inside the house there's evidence of the water damage along with mold and fungus. The damage had gotten so bad that the back end of Juan’s roof had no shingles and several holes. Juan and his wife of 49 years, Idalia, were living in as few rooms of their home as possible to avoid the roof leaks, spending most of their time in the bedroom to stay dry.
“It wasn't so much the material stuff. My wife is sick. Since the roof leaks, you can see the damage that it's done to the inside of my house,” Juan explained to Alice Echo News Journal. “This has been happening for years. It started off with minor things, but I'm not young. How can I fix this stuff myself? Maybe if I was younger.”
Paul Rueda, a project manager with Rooftop 101, a San Marcos-based roofing company which opened a Corpus Christi office earlier this year, saw the news story by chance. “There were 5-gallon buckets all over the inside under leaks,” said Paul told Alice Echo News Journal. “We needed to do something.”
He knew it was a job for his company. He called his boss, Michael Landwert, and they both got to work on how they could help this veteran in need.
"That roof was horrible, so many holes, so many patches," Paul told KrisTV. "I felt a veteran shouldn't be living in a condition like that."
"Knowing someone needs something like that and nobody is stepping up to do it, it was kind of a no-brainer to get it done," adds Michael. “We're going to do the whole roof, all the way around a whole brand-new roof.”
Michael estimates the eight-hour job would normally have an estimated cost of $5,000, but Juan won't pay a cent on the project, Roofing 101 is doing the replacement for free.
“We're going to take care of everything for (Juan),” Michael said. “I've got a heart for veterans. My dad was a veteran, my grandfather was a veteran.”
Both coming from military families, Michael and Paul felt the decision to forgo some profit paled in comparison to the sacrifices veterans make when they join the military.
"The sacrifices they make are so much more than what we make," said Michael. "We think the sacrifices we make are big, but they're really not that big compared to what some of these guys do. That's the ultimate sacrifice for the country. So if you've got issues and you're going to struggle, you got something going on, then someone needs to step up and do something.”
“I appreciate what everybody's doing. They came all this way to help me out,” says Juan. “What they're doing for me and my wife no one else will do. With the roof fixed, slowly I can find ways to fix the inside. I won't have to worry as much for my wife.”
Juan can now rest easy knowing his house will protect him and his wife. "They really put the hard work into my house and made it more livable than what it was," says Juan. "For that, I'm very grateful."
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Photo credit: Alice Echo News Journal