Roofing Contractor Brings Community Together to Help Homeowners in Need

Gwen Maechling

Gwen Maechling of Professional Restoration and APEX Home Solutions rallied members of the greater St. Louis community to help a family in desperate need of a new roof.

There is an old saying that goes, “A good deed is its own reward.” Sometimes one good deed can lead to another with amazing results. This is one of those stories. In the end, members of the greater St. Louis community came together to achieve something that once looked almost impossible: helping neighbors restore their home.

The community service project was spearheaded by Gwen Maechling. Maechling has been passionate about construction since her first project, a custom home she helped build in the St. Louis area when she was just 20 years old. “I was out there every single second during construction,” she recalls. “It was so exciting. It was different than any job I’d ever done. It just lit a fire in me. I’d been searching for that passion, and I found it.”

She later moved to Florida, earned her real-estate license and worked on several residential development projects. When she returned to the St. Louis area, she took a job selling residential roofing, siding and gutters for a company specializing in storm restoration work. She now manages production and sales training for another storm restoration company, Professional Restoration in St. Charles, Mo. She also is the owner and founder of St. Louis-based APEX Home Solutions, which handles residential roofing and remodeling projects.

A CHANCE ENCOUNTER

Maechling has overseen so many roofing projects in Glendale, Mo., that one realtor jokingly refers to it as “Gwendale.” In February 2014, she was working on a roofing project there and saw an elderly couple taking advantage of a break in the winter weather to rake leaves. She noticed the gutters were overflowing with leaves and debris, and she brought over a ladder and offered to clean the gutters out.

AFTER: Professional Restoration donated the labor to install the new roofing and siding.

AFTER: Professional Restoration donated the labor to install the new roofing and siding.

As she spoke with the couple, Charles and Jennie Blank, she realized they were both hearing impaired. At first, communicating was a bit difficult, but Maechling realized they could read lips very well, and they indicated they did not want any help. Maechling persisted, and while cleaning the gutters she noticed the home was in need of several repairs. The roof was old and leaking in several places, and the soffits, fascia board and window sills were rotting. The old three-tab shingles and siding showed evidence of extensive hail damage. “It was one of the worst homes I’ve seen,” she remembers.

Pages: 1 2

CertainTeed Employees Roll Up Their Sleeves to Assist Homes for Our Troops

CertainTeed Corporation, along with employees from its Kansas City, Kansas, insulation plant and professional partners are rolling up their sleeves to assist Homes for Our Troops (HFOT). HFOT is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to building specially adapted, mortgage-free homes for severely injured Veterans. The latest team effort shows support and appreciation for a local Lee’s Summit, Missouri Veteran.
 
CertainTeed offers a portfolio of roofing, insulation, drywall, siding, housewrap and trim for builds across the U.S. CertainTeed’s involvement also extends to employees actively participating in HFOT local community events, as well as builder, distributor, and company contractor partners who assist with product delivery and installation.
 
Due to the proximity to the company’s insulation manufacturing facility in Kansas City, Kansas, local CertainTeed employees are able to do even more for Marine Sgt. Dustin Johns, taking action along with more than 150 people to assist with landscaping and other exterior beautification details during Volunteer Day. Several supporters, including long-time Kansas builder and HFOT partner Sallee Homes of Lee’s Summit, was on hand when the home was officially presented to the Johns family during the formal Key Ceremony.
 
A technician with the 2nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Company, Sgt. Johns was clearing an area of explosive hazards in Sangin Valley, Afghanistan on November 12, 2011 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). The blast resulted in the amputation of both legs and two fingers on his right hand.
 
He was fitted with prosthetics for both legs, but learning to walk again is only one challenge of day-to-day life. Sgt. Johns’ mortgage-free home provided by HFOT is specially designed to accommodate his needs and is a crucial step in helping his family rebuild their lives.
 
“When we heard about Homes for Our Troops building a home so near our largest insulation manufacturing facility, our staff, both at the corporate and local level, were excited at the chance to do more than usual for the local hero,” said Greg Silvestri, president of CertainTeed Insulation. “Everyone who has touched this project, from our builder, distributor and contractor partners to the employees at the plant to our company sales territory managers, have expressed their thankfulness for being able to step in, and eagerness to participate in another build when the opportunity presents itself.”
 
In conjunction with CertainTeed, Insulate America has participated in a number of builds since becoming involved with HFOT in the past few years.
 
“We do charitable work within the communities that we serve. Whether that’s a check, or with some hands on work. It’s rewarding when you come to the home that is being built for one of our Veterans to see the impact and the community coming together,” said David Beam, president of Insulate America. “It’s a small token of appreciation for their sacrifice and our freedom.”

This was the first time A+ Insulation, an Insulate America member contractor from Edwardsville, Kansas, provided installation services for a HFOT build.

“I really had no idea the lengths Homes for Our Troops goes through to personally customize each home to benefit the life of each deserving Veteran. It’s amazing,” said Mike O’Hara, president of A+ Insulation. “And CertainTeed Sales Territory Manager John Larkin was wonderful to work with, making it easy to complete the insulation installation on schedule.”
 
Since its founding in 2004, HFOT has built more than 220 mortgage-free, specially adapted energy-efficient homes for Veterans severely injured in combat after September 11, 2001. Each four-bedroom, two-bath home is Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, complete with roll-in showers, roll-under cooktops and sinks, and other standard accessibility items. Construction of a home takes six to seven months, with the cost of each build averaging $430,000.
 
To learn more about CertainTeed’s Homes for Our Troops partnership, visit www.certainteed.com/followtheproject.