Organizations team up to give Harvard veteran a new roof

New roof allowed veteran’s son to sleep in his own bedroom again

U.S. Army veteran Philip Arnold watches as a new roof is installed on his home near Harvard on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023, through the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project and Habitat for Humanity.

U.S. Army veteran Philip Arnold said he was raised to support the community and give back in any way he could.

After struggling with a leaking roof in his new home, Arnold needed some help from his community.

“I tried to solve this on my own, and it was too much,” he said.

Arnold bought his Harvard home in May and soon discovered that the roof had holes and would leak through his 6-year-old son’s bedroom. That’s when the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project partnered with Habitat for Humanity and XL Contracting to give Arnold his new roof.

Arnold, who works at the Crystal Lake-based nonprofit Veterans Path to Hope, said a colleague told him about the program, and he got a response within days of applying.

Owens Corning, the roofing and insulation company, started its Roof Deployment Project in 2016 and has repaired more than 475 roofs nationwide. The team recently helped a Marengo veteran replace his leaking roof in June.

Senior area sales manager Erin Gnutek said the company sets aside money every year for the foundation to help those who apply.

“It’s more about finding the veterans and the vets that are willing to ask for help,” she said.

Arnold said he struggled with asking for help and felt there were “more deserving” veterans out there. His support system of friends and family helped him find and get the help he needed.

Now with the new roof that was installed in late September, his son will be able to sleep in his own room, which he hasn’t been able to do since they first moved in.

“It’s my son’s first time sleeping in his bedroom. That says it all,” Arnold said when asked what the new roof means to him.

XL contractor Jason Peach said Arnold’s home had holes in the ceiling with buckets collecting water.

This isn’t the first time Peach has had to repair a newly bought home. He said people buying homes should have a roofer check the house because many inspectors can overlook roof damage.

“We have all these organizations working together on this,” he said. “The fact that this all came together is a blessing.”

Habitat for Humanity also did repairs on Arnold’s house, including plumbing, electrical and siding issues, Habitat for Humanity home repair coordinator Kal Rihawi said.

Arnold also developed a friendship with Peach during the process of getting his new roof.

The “behind-the-scenes” relationships that these programs can create is one of Rihawi’s favorite parts of the job, he said.

“It’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen around,” Rihawi said.

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