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Who'll stop the rain?

Veteran in need receives new roof



Shingles flew as workmen ganged with pitchforks to remove old roofing at a Parker Circle address. Homeowner Ricky Martin, a Vietnam veteran who suffers with a disability, gained a needed new roof through the help of several local organizations and Global Builders, the company that carried out the work.


      Monday, 8 a.m., saw four roofers atop Ricky Martin's home on Parker Circle south of Jasper. Prying off old shingles with pitch forks, workmen labored at fever pace in the morning chill, raining chunks of Martin's old rooftop onto a large blue tarp, spread on the ground to catch all below.


     Roofers for restoration/construction company, Global Builders, the men up top served as the hands and backs of a cooperative project to put Martin back in the dry.

A United States Army veteran who suffers with a disability, Martin has been living under a leaking roof for some time. The roof was far enough gone he had water raining through in spots each time it stormed. In one room of the house, it was particularly bad.

     "I got a big old five-gallon garbage can in there to catch the rain," Martin said.

     Afflicted with emphysema, breathing on an oxygen bottle and unable to work, Martin could not afford the cost of a new roof. Knowing he had to do something, he contacted the      Big Canoe Chapel Men's Fellowship and asked for help. Keith Scott, of that Fellowship, recruited the help of several other benevolent organizations and help from Global Builders to provide Martin with the roof he needed.

     Along with the Big Canoe Chapel Men's Fellowship, the following organizations also contributed toward materials for the roof: First Baptist Church of Jasper; Vets Help Vets; Big Canoe Chapel Benevolence Committee; the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Pickens County; Pickens County Habitat for Humanity.

     Global Builders also contributed materials and provided the crew of men who did the hands-on work. Volunteers stayed on the ground and allowed professionals to go up top for this project.

     "It's just gonna be us today, I think," said Steve Strong, out supervising the job for Global. "Our group will knock this out in a day."

     At the pace the Global crew moved, it appeared all of the old roof would be off by 10 a.m. Next, the men would rip up any rotten roof decking, to replace that with fresh plywood. After tacking down felt, they would finish with new shingles––good for 30 years, Strong said. He predicted job completion by six or seven o'clock that evening.

     Homeowner Ricky Martin served in the Vietnam War from 1970 to 1972 as an Army paratrooper, he said. "I came here in '79 to bury my grandmother and stayed after that," he said. He has since lost both parents. A brother in Florida and one in Detroit are the only family he has left, Martin said. As he spoke on his front porch, workmen continued their labor overhead.

     "I just praise the Lord they're here for me," Martin said. "It's kind of hard doing things on a disability. I did this kind of work. Now I can't even walk to climb a ladder, I don't think.

     "It's kind of hard asking these people to help you, though. Makes you feel kind of bad."

     But on behalf of Global Builders and the benevolent organizations involved in the project, Steve Strong displayed easy willingness to help Martin out.

     "He's a Vietnam Vet," Strong said. And Strong is a veteran Marine.


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