Maechling tapped into social media to raise funds to help the Blanks pay for the repairs. Active on Facebook and Twitter as “Roofer Gwen,” Maechling spread the word and within 28 days she had raised the $2,500 for the deductible, but without the insurance coverage for the materials, she was at a standstill. She was determined to help Charles and Jennie Blank. “I love them to death,” she says. “They are the sweetest people I’ve ever met.”
REACHING OUT FOR HELP
When Maechling joined Professional Restoration in 2016, she still had the Blanks in mind. She researched grants and sources of aid but had no luck. She decided to reach out to members of the roofing industry to see if anyone might be able to help. The big break came when she talked to Professional Restoration’s CertainTeed rep, Tony Hock.
“I reached out to Tony to see if there was any- thing his company could do to help us out on this project,” Maechling remembers. “Once I told him the story, he said, ‘Absolutely—whatever you need. Just send me a list.’”
That got the ball rolling. An anonymous donor offered to provide siding and gutter guards. Albany, N.Y.-based Window World’s St. Louis location agreed to supply and install new windows. Professional Restoration donated the labor to install the roofing and siding. The new gutter system was paid for with the funds originally raised through social media.
In the fall of 2016, crews completed installation of the roof system, siding, fascia, gutters and door wraps. The new windows are set for installation in spring 2017. The old siding and gutters were sold for scrap to help defray the cost of new materials.
The most challenging problem involved replacing the rotten wood beneath the old roof system. The original decking had been constructed of one- by-eights, as was common in the area in the 1960s, but most of the original wood was rotting. “There’s not much use in putting a new roof over a rotting substrate,” Maechling notes. “We had to do this the right way.”
Malvern, Pa.-based CertainTeed offered to provide lumber to replace the deck, along with the 110 linear feet of fascia board. “I knew I was pushing my luck, but the Blanks really needed it,” Maechling says. Plywood was installed over the top of the restored deck to provide a better nailing surface.
After the roofing work was completed, Maechling organized a group of volunteers to take care of landscaping at the home. Neighbors who had followed the story on social media turned out to help cut down overgrown bushes and trim trees. The wood was mulched for use in the garden areas.
Jennie Blank provided candy for the kids as their parents worked in the yard. The landscaping really made the transformation complete, according to Maechling. “The before and after comparison was amazing,” she says. “You could really see the difference. I didn’t even know the Blanks had a deck on the back porch until we had trimmed away the bushes.”
The Blanks are now safe and secure in their restored home. Putting 18 squares of shingles on a ranch home is usually a pretty straightforward affair, but this project was a unique mission for Maechling. She notes it just demonstrates the two things that set great roofing companies apart. “Number one is integrity,” she says. “I will not waver on that. I will not cut corners. As my parents drilled into us, ‘No job is worth doing unless you do it right.’”
“Number two is good people,” she continues. “The world is full of good people, and if you can’t find one, you have to be one. Ask what you can do for people to set yourself apart. Everybody that I talk to has had that experience where they see someone do something and they say, ‘I wish I could do that.’ Well, what’s stopping you? Just do it.”
Maechling is grateful for everyone who helped out on this project, as well as for her new friends, Charles and Jennie Blank. “We took what looked impossible and made it possible,” Maechling says. “If I could put a roof on everyone’s house who needed one, I would—in a heartbeat.”
Photos: Gwen Maechling
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