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Vietnam veteran gets free roof

Vietnam War veteran Curtis Hayes would have paid about $10,000 to replace his house’s aging roof, but on Saturday, March 19, Lon Smith Roofing & Construction came to his house and built him a new roof for free.

“This is one of the best things that’s happened to me since I’ve been back from Vietnam,” Hayes said.

It’s part of Lon Smith’s Roof for Vets program, a quarterly event that began about two years ago. The company selects a veteran in North Texas and builds him or her a brand new roof for free – a project that takes about a day to complete. Lon Smith has built roofs for veterans in cities like Dallas, Austin and Midlothian. Hayes is the program’s first veteran from Fort Worth.

“It’s really been important for all of our employees to be involved in taking care of people who have taken care of us in the field of battle,” Lon Smith President David Cox said. “We’re really appreciative of that.”

Hayes served in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1972. He spent a year in Vietnam serving as a tank commander but became disabled due to chemical exposure while in Vietnam.

Now living in southeast Fort Worth, Hayes said he had been having trouble getting his homeowner’s insurance to pay for his 25-year-old roof, so his daughter signed him up for Lon Smith’s Roof for Vets program.

He said he was excited to find out he qualified for a free roof.

“That’s outstanding for a company to do that,” Hayes said. “How many other companies will step up and help veterans or anyone else who’s really in need?”

Among those who came to watch Lon Smith build Hayes’s roof was U.S. Rep. Kay Granger. Granger said she was glad to see the company help a veteran living in the city where she once served as mayor.

She said the project was a way to put the words “thank you” into action.

“They’re not just words,” she said. “They’re there, and that’s what was important to me.”

Cox said giving back to veterans has been “rewarding,” and the company’s next project is a building a free roof for a veterans’ facility in Dallas.

“We’ve always believed we can do well by doing good,” he said. “That’s what this program’s all about.”

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