A recent news story about an Alice man in desperate need of a roof caught the attention of a roofing company. After years of seeking help, Juan Manrique finally gets help and a new roof.
Manrique’s house, on the 1000 block of St. Mary’s Street, has fallen into disrepair since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Since then, Manrique said his house would leak every time it rained and he needed to sort out his belongings so they wouldn’t be destroyed .
Manrique, an Army veteran, shares the home with his 49-year-old wife, Idalia.
“It wasn’t so much about the material things. My wife is sick. Because the roof is leaking, you can see the damage it’s done to the inside of my house,” Manrique said. “This has been happening for years. It started with small things, but I’m not young. How can I fix this stuff myself? Maybe when I was younger.”
In the house there is evidence of the water damage along with mold and mildew. Manrique and his wife had resorted to living in the front part of the house and spent most of their time in their bedroom.
The Alice community has been there in the past to help him, but mostly for medical expenses the couple has due to Idalia’s health. He said he didn’t think the news story would help him, but it was worth a try.
Paul Rueda, a project manager at RoofTop 101, saw the news and knew immediately that this was a job for the company. He called his boss, Michael Landwert, and they both went to work helping this veteran in need.
The company is from San Marcos, but has recently branched out into Corpus Christi. They had made some connections in the Coastal Bend and were able to make contact with Manrique. Manrique was “excited” at the idea of finally getting a new roof.
David Salinas Jr., the Jim Wells County Veterans Service officer, was one of the first people to tell Manrique about the new roof on his 1,300-square-foot home. Salinas was visiting Manrique while providing fans for veterans.
“I saw the map and called to see what was going on and now everything is running,” said Salinas. “These guys are moving up. It’s a blessing for what they’re doing for our veterans… It’s getting a lot easier for him.”
On Tuesday, June 29, RoofTop 101 arrived at Manrique’s house and placed a tarp on the back of the house to stop the leaks until they could replace the roof.
“There were 5-gallon buckets under leaks everywhere,” said Paul Rueda, project manager for RoofTop 101. “We had to do something.”
On Monday, July 5, McCoy’s will provide lifetime shingles and supplies to get the project started the next morning.
“We are going to do the whole roof. We scheduled it for Tuesday. The man will be gone, he will haul in his trailer, rip everything off, all the way to the deck and valley. Replace everything and throw in the trailer. Everyone knew… All the way around a brand new roof,’ Landwert said.
Landwert said the roof will be an 8-hour job and would normally have an estimated cost of $5,000, but Manrique will not pay a cent for the project.
“We are going to arrange everything for (Manrique)”, Landwert said. “I have a heart for veterans. My father was a veteran, my grandfather a veteran.”
Landwert understands the sacrifices veterans make to then not have the basic necessities for a comfortable life after sacrificing everything to fight for their country.
“I live in San Marcos. I come here and work three to four days. I miss my family like crazy. You think of a veteran going into the military and they’re gone for who knows how long if they ever come back,” Landwert said. That is the ultimate sacrifice for the country. So if you’re in trouble and you’re going to struggle, you’ve got something going on, someone has to stand up and do something.”
Landwert said they are not helping for the publicity. They just do it from the heart for those who fought for their country. This isn’t the first time they’ve helped veterans.
“These guys have not asked for recognition, but it has to be known. These guys do something that not just anyone would do,” Salinas said. “They like to do it without the attention, but they have to be commended.”
“I appreciate what everyone is doing. They came all this way to help me,” Manrique said. “I appreciate that. What they do for me and my wife, no one else will do. With the roof fixed, I can slowly find ways to fix the inside. I don’t have to worry so much about my wife.”
Manrique thanks everyone who has been a “God-send” to him and his wife, especially RoofTop 101, Servando “Wolf” Garza, Salinas and County Judge Juan Rodriguez.