Written by Amy Coyne Bredeson Photos by Ritterbeck Photography
Marine veteran Jeff Failing’s home in Port Royal had suffered wind damage on the roof, and rain was leaking inside, so he contacted Monarch Roofing for an estimate. Failing and his wife, Gabriela, were surprised with a brand new roof in 2021. Thanks to a partnership between Monarch Roofing, roofing manufacturer GAF and various veteran organizations, they did not have to pay a penny for the upgrade.
Failing had spoken with Monarch general manager Cody Frost about the issues he had with his roof, and Frost knew right away that Failing was the perfect candidate for the Roof for Troops program.
“He was just an awesome guy to be around,” Frost said. “He was very positive.”
Frost said Failing’s house had a type of shingle that wasn’t rated for the area. It wasn’t up to building code.
After thoroughly vetting Failing and his roof situation, Frost confirmed that the Failing family qualified for a free roof.
Then came the fun part. Frost, who is also a Marine veteran, along with the team at Monarch got to start planning the surprise.
“I had to kind of trick him a little bit,” Frost said. “I kept telling him that our crews were delayed or the materials were delayed. I think he was starting to get a little irritated with me. And we finally showed up to his house with a bunch of roofing material, and he figured out why I was tricking him.”
Monarch marketing director Alicia Tetreault said the Roof for Troops recipients think they are going to pay for the new roofs and are later surprised with the great news. She said the company usually tells the homeowners that they will be stopping by to do one more inspection, but they show up with a team to surprise the family.
“They’re usually very surprised,” Tetreault said, adding that family and friends are invited to join a celebration on installation day.
With the help of veteran centers, the Military Officers Association of America, the American Legion and Blue Star Mothers of America, Roof for Troops gives away one new roof every year at each of its locations in the Lowcountry, Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, N.C. The shingles are manufactured by GAF.
Frost said the veterans get the best roofing systems available, with a warranty backed by the manufacturer.
“So if Monarch ever went out of business, it’s still covered through that manufacturer, even though we installed the roof,” Frost said. “It’s kind of like having insurance, just peace of mind. They don’t ever have to worry about their roof again.”
The roof recipients are nominated either by someone in the community or by one of the veteran groups. Sometimes, as in the Failing’s case, Monarch will meet with someone about a possible job and then discover the homeowner is a veteran.
And sometimes while chatting with a veteran, a Monarch team member will discover additional problems with the home that can be remedied by one of their remodeling partners.
Tetreault said every one of the program’s recipients has said they don’t need the roof as much as others do.
“They’re always willing to give to someone else and thinking of others before themselves, which is always incredible,” she said.
Frost said the program has given away 20 roofs since its inception. The local office on Argent Boulevard has installed free roofs in Rincon, Beaufort and Bluffton.
“As we grow, we’re looking to be all over the country and helping many different people,” Frost said. “This program is special to me, specifically because my closest friends and family have all been in the military, and I think it’s definitely a deserving community to give back to. I think it’s important to always give back to that community.”
To nominate a veteran for the Roof for Troops program, go to www.monarchroofing.biz/roofs-for-troops.