South Bend veteran receives much-needed new roof

NOW: South Bend veteran receives much-needed new roof

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- He was overseas fighting in Iraq in 2003 when he paid for a new roof for his home, but got scammed. On Friday, a local U.S. Army veteran finally got a new, and free, roof.

Kevin Grainger served in the U.S. Army and fought in Iraq from 2003 to 2004.

He came home to a roof that had not been properly installed on the South Bend home he bought in 1995.

That led to years of headaches, including constant leaks that have destroyed parts of his house.

But when Grainger partnered with Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County to get help for some other projects, the organization ended up connecting him with the groups the team that gave him a new roof on Friday.

“It’s funny how karma works because it sort of makes it sweet that this is happening to me because I haven’t had a lot of nice things to happen – go my way since I got back,” Grainger said. “It will be something that I’ve been waiting for for about 14 years. And think, ‘Ok, I’m finally getting the roof that I should’ve had back in – towards the end of 2003.’”

A crew from J&B West Roofing installed the roof on Grainger’s home on Friday.

The materials were donated by Owens Corning Roofing, which helps veterans across the country to get new roofs.

Montana Knapp, of Habitat for Humanity, said his organization typically learns of veterans in need by word of mouth.

But for Grainger, help continued to come after the veteran initially got in touch with Knapp for home repairs that had nothing to do with his roof.

“We utilized the Home Depot Foundation Repair Corps. program,” Knapp said. “And as we were making the assessment to [Grainger’s] house, I went ahead and filled out an application for the Owens Corning program, which is all coming to fruition here shortly.”

The roof was installed on Friday free of charge.

“It is in definitely dire need of replacement,” said Sarah Lundell, of J&B West Roofing, in an interview on Thursday. “There were definitely some code violations in his prior install. So we are grateful to give him the new wood that he is going to need below the shingles, we’re excited to give him the new flashing along his roof-to-wall intersections, and the new chimney flash – it definitely has some vulnerable spots that are leaking.”

We first met Grainger a few months ago when he got a new furnace for his house, after not having a working one for 13 years.

In an interview on Thursday, he said that getting the new roof on his house will allow him to pass the home along to his 16-year-old daughter, who he is raising on his own, as his legacy.


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