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See how a Hall County veteran got a new roof through fundraising program
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Sunrise Roofing's Travis Rylee unloads lumber Monday, June 25, 2018 at a Hall County home as Jackson EMC is partnering with the roofing and construction company to donate and install a new roof for veteran Roy Martin. Rylee's crew stripped off the old roof to discover more damage than anticipated requiring additional time and effort by the crew. - photo by Scott Rogers

Roy Martin sat on his front porch cooking dinner on a charcoal grill, smoke floating toward his face every so often. Soon it began to rain, but he continued to sit, with no shirt on, leaned back in one of the two chairs on the porch.

It’s something the Vietnam-era military veteran and retired electrician doesn’t take for granted anymore because it’s something he hasn’t been able to do for a while. His roof had been leaking so badly he couldn’t sit on his porch without getting wet and he couldn’t use the washing machine in his utility room because the roof had fallen in at his north Hall County home.

But with the combined efforts of Jackson EMC, Sunrise Roofing and Construction and ABC Supply, Martin now has a brand new roof, free of leaks, through Jackson EMC’s “Operation Round Up” program.

“It means the world to me,” said Martin, 77, a lifelong Hall native. “I’m very happy about the roof. I’m very happy.”

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Sunrise Roofing crew member Aurelio Torres prepares to remove boards from a rotting porch roof Monday, June 25, 2018 at a home on Giddon Martin Road. Jackson EMC is partnering with Sunrise Roofing to donate and install a new roof for a veteran, Roy Martin. - photo by Scott Rogers
The work was done pro bono, meaning Sunrise Roofing, based in Auburn, and ABC Supply of Athens, weren’t paid for the work. It was all done with volunteers.

Jackson EMC members can take part in the “Operation Round Up” program by rounding up their electric bill each month to the next whole-dollar amount. Its website says the average annual contribution of each member is $6.

It’s primary purpose “is to address charitable needs and provide financial assistance anywhere in the 10 counties” Jackson EMC serves.

Sunrise Roofing supplied the labor while ABC Supply donated the materials needed for Martin’s roof.

“I talked to our owner and it’s something he always wanted to do, but we had talked about it and prayed about it and just asked that we would be given something like this,” said Travis Rylee, sales representative with Sunrise Roofing. “And it just popped up. It came up on our plate and we just jumped right in.”

Sunrise Roofing is a Christian-run business, which Rylee said means “we’re supposed to love and we’re supposed to help folks.” 

That’s what the work on Martin’s roof was all about.

“That’s what we’re here for,” Rylee said. “We’ve been blessed enough to keep busy since 2004 and we’ve been blessed to have this company and live through the hard times of the crash and come out of that. We just feel that we just want to give back.”

That feeling was mutual for everyone involved in the project. ABC Supply was “happy to do it.” It does charitable work throughout the year and is always looking for ways to help in the area.

“We know that there’s a lot of need in the community,” said Johanna Leboff, outside sales representative with ABC Supply in Athens. “We try to help wherever we can.”

Rylee said Martin is a “funny guy.” While the crew was at his home working on the roof, bees began to swarm from a nearby tree. Martin came out of the house “beating on a metal tin” to get them to go away.

“We just wanted to come over here and love on him and show him that people do care, and show him that there’s somebody here for him,” Rylee said.

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Sunrise Roofing owner Kendall Holmes tears away boards from a fireplace at a Hall County home Monday, June 25, 2018 at a home. His crew partnered with Jackson EMC to donate and install a new roof and other repairs for veteran Roy Martin. - photo by Scott Rogers
Martin spends most of his time at home, watching television, mowing the yard when it needs it and messing around with an old car he has in his shop.

“I tinker with them as a hobby,” Martin said. “And I just sit here by myself and enjoy my own company.”

Now, he’ll be able to enjoy his own company while staying dry.

“We hope he gets a lot of long life out of his roof,” Leboff said.

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Sunrise Roofing owner Kendall Holmes moves lumber Monday, June 25, 2018 at a home on Giddon Martin Road. Jackson EMC is partnering with Sunrise Roofing to donate and install a new roof for a veteran, Roy Martin at his Hall County home. - photo by Scott Rogers