Army veteran Lovie Thompson-Oglesby has had the roof of her Joppatowne house patched three times, and she has been praying that the roof will make it through the upcoming winter.
Her roof is one fewer thing to be anxious about, though, thanks to the five-member crew from Severn-based RoofPRO that spent Tuesday morning replacing the shingles and underlying material. The crew, led by project manager Brandon Crone, donated its time through the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project.
Owens Corning, a Toledo, Ohio-based supplier of roofing, insulation and other building materials, donated the supplies used to repair Thompson-Oglesby’s roof. The company is partnering with the nonprofit Operation Homefront to “show gratitude and honor” to veterans and their families around the country.
More than 225 veterans have had their roofs replaced since the Roof Deployment Project began in 2016, according to a news release.
“They’re truly God-sent because I don’t have the money to pay to have the roof replaced, and every year I would just pray, ‘God please, don’t let it be a big snow,'” Thompson-Oglesby said, standing outside her house on Macintosh Circle as RoofPRO workers nailed in new shingles.
Thompson-Oglesby, 51, said the previous roof dated to when the house was built in 1997; she has been a resident there since 2006, and her 16-year-old son and 24-year-old daughter live with her. She said the roof replacement is “right on time.”
“This is perfect, because the winter is approaching,” she said while out in the chilly late-morning weather.
Thompson-Oglesby served in the Army from 1988 to 2002 as a water purification specialist. She was stationed in Germany from 1989 to 1991, as the decades-long Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union came to an end.
She and her fellow soldiers provided advance support to other U.S. troops as they came through Germany on their way to the Middle East.
Thompson-Oglesby said that “90% of our workload was in the field, so you just get up and you just get going."
She recalled seeing the Berlin Wall, which divided the city between its eastern Communist-controlled and Western-controlled sectors. The German nation had been divided between east and west since the end of World War II but reunified in the early 1990s, following the fall of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989.
Thompson-Oglesby said the situation was “kind of scary” when she saw the wall, as it was still guarded by soldiers bearing rifles, and relations between NATO and the Soviet bloc were “very tense” at the time.
She was medically retired from the Army in 2002 and then spent 10 years working as a contract specialist for the federal government. She later medically retired from government service.
Thompson-Oglesby now spends her time “trying to keep myself busy” with activities such as virtual cello lessons and painting classes in the Fire Museum of Maryland in Lutherville — the art classes are free for veterans, active-duty military and first responders.
Crone, the project manager for RoofPRO, has had four to six conversations with Thompson-Oglesby as he and the crew prepared to work on her roof. The group of six, including Crone, arrived around 7 a.m. and finished the job around noon on Tuesday.
Veterans and their families have “sacrificed so much for us to have freedoms," Crone said, “so, it’s nice to give back to them even if it’s just half a day of labor.”
People can send an email to email@example.com for more information about the Roof Deployment Project, or to participate.