By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – Army veteran Brian Reaume won’t fear leaks when it rains anymore, thanks to a new roof provided Nov. 19 by Habitat for Humanity, Owens Corning and Premier Roofing and Renovations.
“After I lost my job, due to the pandemic, in April, I had a leak in my kitchen, and I didn’t know how I would pay to have a roof installed,” Reaume said. “I found the program with Habitat for Humanity, and when I got approved for it, I was in shock, as I am right now. I still can’t believe it’s happening.”
Reaume worked for Roush Industries in Allen Park as a material build coordinator for prototype Ford vehicles before the pandemic struck and his job was eliminated.
While he is grateful to still be collecting unemployment benefits, Reaume worries about the future. He takes care of his 76-year-old mother, Sheila, who lives with him in the house he bought on Champaign, west of Jackson Street, in 2007 with a Veterans Administration loan.
“Whenever it rained, I just prayed that it didn’t constantly pour, because it was leaking so bad,” Reaume said. “I know that sounds bad for people who have gardens and stuff, but I would literally pray for no rain.”
He said that now, with the new roof going on, he feels blessed.
“I have been emotional all day,” Reaume said. “It just means so much to me and my mom and my two dogs.”
Dennis Rosales, a field manager and junior partner with Premier Roofing and Renovations of Fraser, and a Marine Corps veteran, said Owens Corning, their shingle manufacturer, contacted them and said they had a Habitat for Humanity house that they would supply the materials for if Premier would supply the labor.
“They said it was for a veteran, and I am a veteran, so we thought, heck, yeah, let’s give back to the community,” he said. “We really enjoy doing a couple a year like this, and we also started a program called ‘Rescue a Responder,’ so, if we come across a first responder who has had a tough time, we try to help them out with a roof or something as well.”
Margaret Kucharek, a project manager for Habitat for Humanity of Western Wayne County, said she is always happy when they can help out a veteran.
“I tell people that I’ve got the easiest job here,” she said. “The veterans come to us, I make sure they qualify for the program, then these guys come out and do all the hard work.”
Kucharek said Habitat for Humanity recently helped a 92-year-old World War II veteran living in Inkster get a new roof for his house.
Rosales said it is often difficult for veterans to ask for help.
“When you come out of the world that you were in, and you come out in the civilian world, it is a tough acclimation period,” he said.
Kucharek said she is glad whenever they can help a veteran.
“We have our freedom because of them,” she said. “So, we are really excited when we are able to give back to our veterans.”