CLEVELAND — He served in Vietnam and now a northeast Ohio nonprofit is providing a local veteran with a new roof.
Purple Heart Homes assists veterans with home renovations or repairs to help make their lives easier and safer.
Dennis Payne has lived in his North Ridgeville home for about 35 years. The roof on the house has seen better days, but he said he was putting off getting any work done. That was until he noticed some water coming in through the piping in the bathrooms and furnace room.
“I said, ‘Uh, oh. We’re starting to get a couple leaks in the house,’” he said. “Now I know we gotta do the roof.”
The Navy veteran spent 13 months overseas during the Vietnam War.
“We were like the supporting cast,” he said about his role refueling ships. “Without us, those other ships wouldn’t go nowhere.”
He graduated boot camp in 1969 and spent a total of 19 months and 23 days in the service.
“I think our veterans are left behind a lot of times, and they’re the ones that have given up the ultimate sacrifice,” said Patrick Main with Owens Corning, which donated the roofing materials.
Payne applied for assistance through Purple Heart Homes. Legacy Roofing provided the labor at no charge. The businesses partnered with Purple Heart Homes for the project.
“It just makes you feel incredible,” Main said. “I’m a veteran, myself, of the U.S. Navy, so Dennis' story really hit home for me. I was able to share some stories with him, some war stories, and it was pretty exciting just to give back.”
Payne said he was the happiest man in the world.
“I never believed this could happen, but it did," he said. "And I hope other veterans realize that there’s help out there for them.”
Purple Heart Homes provides assistance to qualifying veterans. If you know a veteran in need of assistance, visit purplehearthomesusa.org.