Ten years ago, Jonathan Cox, owner of Cox Roofing, discovered he was cancer-free. After organizing a giveaway through his company to replace a veteran’s roof, the winning veteran was also a cancer survivor. It was pure coincidence when Cox chose John Moorman’s name from a hat for his company’s inaugural rooftop giveaway. About 20-30 veterans were entered for the draw.
“It was unbelievable when we told him he had won,” said Cox. “After spending more time with him and getting to know him better, we think he really deserves the donation.”
Moorman, a Vietnam War veteran and resident of Laurel, served from 1972-75 and was stationed near the Gulf of Tonkin. Moorman started at the age of 14 and now works six days a week at A-1 Tire. He has lived here for 10 years in his current house on Bush Dairy Road.
“When I’m not at work, I go to the doctor’s office,” Moorman said.
Moorman is currently undergoing chemotherapy, immunotherapy and regularly visits the doctor to treat his lung cancer. After undergoing treatment for a year and a half, the doctors found another tumor that appeared aggressive.
Cox knew something was wrong when he was working on a roof with his father 10 years ago. His side ached and he developed a fever and nausea. He could barely get through the work and often had to lie on his side to help with the pain.
“My wife kept telling me to go to the doctor,” Cox said.
He eventually passed out after experiencing pain in his side and discovered he had cancer in his appendix. He underwent treatment and chemotherapy, and was cancer-free a year after the birth of his first child.
Moorman’s roof had been leaking for several years and he couldn’t get the insurance company to cover the cost of a new roof. He then suffered some storm damage.
“I would just patch it every time it started leaking,” Moorman said. “I couldn’t afford to buy a new roof.”
Cox Roofing wanted to give back to the community after building his business over 16 years and having great success. Wanting to help someone in need, he started his inaugural roof giveaway, each year selecting a veteran, health worker, law enforcement or emergency worker in need of a new roof.
“The work we’ve done here today could cost between $6,000 and $8,000,” Cox said.
For Moorman, he has to deal with frequent out-of-pocket payments and hospital trips, making it difficult to repair his roof.
When the company told Moorman that he had won the giveaway, Moorman collapsed and cried, Cox said.
“He told us he had never won anything,” Cox said. “It was incredible to see his reaction and give him this.”
Cam Bonelli is a reporter and photojournalist for the Laurel Leader-Call. Follow them on Twitter @Cambonelli or contact them by email at [email protected]