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.
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.