Whiteman volunteers, community band together to replace roof for Knob Noster family

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Parker J. McCauley
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Whiteman AFB Airmen rolled up their sleeves, grabbed their tool belts and joined community partners and the Fuller Center for Housing of Johnson County recently to repair a family home in Knob Noster, Missouri.

The Fuller Center is a local non-profit organization offering help building and repairing houses of low-income families who are unable to afford or physically do the work themselves. The organization selected two families in Knob Noster and another in Centerview, Missouri, for its Greater Blessing program, which offers help with home repairs and renovations if material costs are less than $5,000.

“The Great Blessing program helps homeowners with improvements to their homes, which will make the homes ‘warmer, safer, drier,’” said LuRae Shreves, a volunteer with the Fuller Center.

The family in Knob Noster needed roof and gutters replaced due to old age and weather damage that resulted in leaks inside their home and garage, said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Steven Stuer Jr., a self-assessment program manager with the 509th Bomb Wing Inspector General and a volunteer Fuller Center treasurer and bookkeeper.

“The philosophy is to give the homeowners a ‘hand up’ instead of a handout,” Stuer said. “We give them a push to start fresh and build a new life in their new home.”

Once the family’s application was reviewed and approved by the board of directors, the Fuller Center organized volunteers, support agencies and scheduled the work. Technical experts from a local roofing service volunteered their time to teach volunteers how to rebuild the roof and provided safety oversight.

The project took three eight-hour days, split between two weekends, to accomplish, Stuer said.

“We had to tear off all of the old roofing material, replace a good portion of the wood underneath that was rotting due to the water entering, and install the new shingles,” he said. “(Whiteman AFB Airmen were) the main contribution to our success, to say the least. What they lacked in experience was far overshadowed by their dedication and motivation to finish as quickly as possible.”

The volunteers placed all the shingles in three days giving them time to cure in the sun before the cold weather set in – and removed and disposed of the old waste material from the work site.

“Without the help of the volunteers, the family would still be living with major roofing issues and leaks,” said Barbara Curtis, Fuller Center acting director. “Since the pandemic began, we have struggled to find enough volunteers for our projects and the willing and energetic help was a blessing to us and to the family.”

After the completion of the project, the Fuller Center held a dedication ceremony for the family on Jan. 30. The ceremony was held on a rainy day and the roof held out the water as intended.

If you are looking to solicit volunteers or ways to get involved, check out the “Volunteer” feature in the Whiteman AF Connect app. Simply look for “USAF Connect” in your phone’s app store and add Whiteman AFB as your favorite today!