|Jay Elie, left, and his brother Matt, founders of No Roof Left Behind program.|
There are people who say they want to help. Then there are people who see that people are in need and they do something about it.
When the bottom fell out of Michigan’s economy back in 2008, Jay and Matt Elie of Shelby Township saw the epidemic of blue tarps and launched a campaign to help. Whether it was because of layoffs or wage reductions, a lot of homeowners felt they had no choice but to put off their roof repairs and hope that the blue tarps would contain the problem – until something changed.
Jay and Matt are brothers and partners in Ridgecon Construction, a family-run roofing company. They remembered the stories their grandfather used to recall about life during the Depression and how people pulled together to help each other out in times of need. “Grandpa often told us that it wasn’t all bad because neighbors did what they could for each other,” said Jay. “They stuck together and that made it bearable.”
And so, guided by their grandfather’s words and their roofing experience, the brothers started offering their services for free to a Macomb County family or individual each year. The charitable program, known as No Roof Left Behind, is in its fourth year and has become a model program for other like-minded roofing companies in other states including Ohio.“No Roof Left Behind means more than just installing a free roof for someone in need,” said one of the brothers. “It brings residents together and creates fellowship between neighborhood residents who continue to help each other long after the work is done.”
Recipients of the free roof are chosen through an extensive voting process. And while only one winner was declared in each of the previous years, a halo effect occurred in which runner-ups’ stories of need prompted other companies and individuals to make additional services and assistance available. Several local businesses have already offered donations for the work this September, including debris removal from Metro Sanitation, roof accessory products from Allied Building Products, food for a barbecue from Dearborn Brand Sausage, chips from Better Made Snack Foods, a moonwalk and other fun from Budget Bounce, and an estate planning session with Legal Strategies.
Among the homeowners in Macomb County to receive help through the No Roof Left Behind program is a former businessman who suffered a stroke, which left him in a nursing home, unable to walk, use his hands or speak clearly. He lost his company, and his 60-year-old wife tried to find work but her bad knees and age made it difficult. They were the recipients of the first free roof. Another family was so burdened by living expenses and medical bills, as a result of the father being laid off and the mother’s battle with multiple sclerosis, their three daughters were babysitting to help ends meet. The latest homeowner to win a free roof was a single mother with three boys. She was in a car accident involving a drunken driver and was left disabled and unable to work as a registered nurse. On top of everything else, her insurance company threatened to cancel her coverage if she didn’t fix her roof.
To be eligible for a new roof, an individual or family must be nominated. An overview of the program can be found at No Roof Left Behind. Nominations will be taken until July 20 via No Roof Left Behind Contest Nominees. To qualify for the program, nominees must be current on their mortgage payments and must sign a media release with the Elies. Once the nomination process is closed, entries will be reviewed by a team of neighborhood volunteers who will select four finalists for the public to vote for between Aug. 3 and Sept. 7. On Sept. 10, the winner will be revealed and the installation will take place shortly thereafter in a block party atmosphere similar to those described by the Elies’ grandfather.
Volunteering to help someone in need is just one of the many things to do with your time. Check out our weekend list of other family-friendly events and activities going on in the Detroit area:
Wayne State University Press presents Made in Michigan Literary Walk featuring poets and writers, starting at noon June 30; the walk stops at several venues through the Midtown Detroit area. Call 313-577-6077.
To celebrate living in the land of freedom and the friendship between Detroit and Windsor, Historic Trinity is hosting a special service 9:30-11 a.m. The St. Andrew’s Society Pipe Band (bagpipes and drums) will perform. Historic Trinity is at 1345 Gratiot Ave., Detroit, MI 48207.
Crocker House Garden Walk, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. June 23 features Mount Clemens gardens, the Miller Street Garden Boutique and the Great Lakes Lace Group. Tickets are $10, or $8 for Macomb County Historical Society members. Visit www.crockerhousemuseum.com. Lunch is available at Che Cosa for $8; for reservations, 586-954-2677.
A formal garden overlooking the natural landscape of Paint Creek is among seven gardens featured on the Rochester Hills Museum Garden Walk, June 21 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Cost in advance is $12 ($10 museum members) or on the event day for $14. Visit www.rochesterhills.org.
Log Cabin Days at the Historic Village, Beebe and Park streets, Richmond, noon-4 p.m. June 24, includes living history encampment by St. Clair Voyageurs, storytelling, Civi War displays, blacksmithing. Call 586-727-7773.
St. Clair Shores Genealogy Group meets 7 p.m. June 28 in the Local History Center at St. Clair Shores Public Library, 22500 11 Mile Road. For details, 586-771-9020 or www.scslibrary.org.
Ashlar Chapter No. 378 Order of Eastern Star hosts card party and luncheon, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. June 23, at Roseville Masonic Center, 27151 Gratiot. Hot lunch served at noon. Admission $7 per person. Call 586-772-6125.
Ray Township 11th community picnic, noon-4:30 p.m. June 24, at 64255 Wolcott road. The day includes food and beverages for sale, raffles, $1 train rides, free classic car show, kids’ bingo, crafts, magic show, children’s games, petting farm.
Macomb County Warming Center will benefit from a percentage of sales between 4 to 9 p.m. June 25 at Cloverleaf Restaurant & Bar, 24443 Gratiot south of 10 Mile Road in Eastpointe. Raffles and entertainment also are planned. Call 586-321-0998.
Free Chesterfield Walks for ages 55 and older take place 9:30 a.m. July 1, 25, Aug. 8, 22 and 28, and 9 a.m. June 26, July 17, 31, and Aug. 14 and 28, at the Charter Township of Chesterfield Municipal Building. Registration required.
Utica Antiques Market, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. July 7-8 at 11541 21 mile road; $5 admission, free parking. For details, 586-254-3495 or www.uticaantiques.com.
Open house and ice cream social from noon to 3 p.m. June 23 at Services for Older Citizens new location on Ridge Road at Muir Road, Grosse Pointe Farms.
Upcoming programs at the St. Clair Shores Public Library, 22500 11 Mile Road, include free “Classic Movie Fridays,” through June 29; also, summer reading club registrations accepted through July 27. Film Movement 6:30 p.m. third Thursday monthly, “Before Your Eyes” plays June 21. To register or for program information, 586-771-9020 or www.scslibrary.org.
Upcoming events at Warren Civic Center Library include: mini-makeover night, 6 p.m. June 27 for 12-17 years; Friends from the Farm Night, 6:30 p.m. June 28. All programs at the library in Warren City Hall, two blocks east of Van Dyke, north of 12 Mile Road; registration required for some sessions, call 586-751-0770.
Leaps & Bounds
Early childhood education training programs for caregivers and parents, 9:15-11 a.m. Wednesdays at Early Childhood Center, 24580 Cunningham, Center Line, and 10:30-11:30 a.m. Thursdays at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 8129 Packard, Warren, sponsored by non-profit Leaps & Bounds Family Services. For complete schedule, 313-402-0802 or 586-675-0451.
Meadow Brook tours
Summer tours at Meadow Brook Hall on the Oakland University Campus in Rochester are under way at 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. A new architecture tour includes interior and exterior highlights of the design and construction process, 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; Behind-The-Scenes tours that include the staff wing are noon and 1:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; each tour admission is $15 adults, $10 seniors, free ages 12 and younger. Twilight Tuesdays are 6-9 p.m. June 12, July 13 and Aug. 28, $10 adults, free ages 12 and younger. Call 248-364-6200 or go to www.meadowbrookhall.org.
Concerts/dancing at Lake St. Clair Metropark take place 6:30-10 p.m. Sundays throughout August; Programs free with Metropark vehicle annual entry permit, $25 season, $15 ages 62 and older, or $5 daily. Visit www.metroparks.com or call 586-463-4581.
Grosse Pointe Village Association’s Music on The Plaza free outdoor jazz concert series presented by St. John Hospital & Medical Center, 7 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 2, on Village Festival Plaza at Kercheval and St. Clair in downtown Grosse Pointe. Call 313-886-7474 or www.thevillagegp.com.
Concerts at Stony Creek Metropark in Washington Township feature 80’s Inc., July 6; Air Margaritaville, July 20; Justine Blazer, Aug. 3; Dr. Pocket, Aug. 10. Music begins 7:30 p.m. at Eastwood Beach. Free, but Metropark vehicle entry permit required. Call 586-781-4242 or www.metroparks.com.
Lexington Arts Council Music in the Park series, opening acts 6 p.m., main show 7:30 p.m. June 29, July 6, 13, 20, 27, Aug. 3, 10, 17, at Patrick Tierney Memorial Park, Lexington. Free. Visit www.lexarts.com.
Summer Music Festival at Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lakeshore Road, 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays July 11-Aug. 8; grounds open 6 p.m. Admission $8 per person; food available for purchase or guests can bring their own picnic. For details, 313-881-7511 ro www.WarMemorial.org.
Teen Actors of Ridgedale present “Fame,” 7 p.m. June 23, 2 p.m. June 24 at the theater, 205 W. Long Lake road. For tickets, $8.50, visit www.ridgedaleplayers.com or 248-988-7049.
“The Ugly Duckling” plays 10:30 a.m. through June 26-29 and July 5-7 at the Hilberry Theatre, at Cass and Hancock on the Wayne State University campus in Detroit. For tickets, $5 children, $8 adults, call 313-577-2972 or www.hilberry.com.
Summer Shakespeare Series opens with “The Tempest,” 7 p.m. June 23, at Richmond High School auditorium. For general admission tickets, $5 students, $6 adults, call 586-430-1039. Project cosponsored Richmond Community Theatre, Richmond High School Drama Department and Southeast Michigan Youth Theatre.
Detroit Repertory Theatre premieres “Taking Care of Mimi,” through June 24, at the theater, 13103 Woodrow Wilson, Detroit. For tickets, 313-868-1347 or www.detroitreptheatre.com.
“Robocop: The Musical” 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, through Aug. 3, at Go Comedy! Improv Theater, 261 Nine Mile Road, Ferndale. Tickets $15. Visit www.gocomedy.net.
Selective Singles Social and Travel Club host weekly breakfasts, 8:30 a.m. Mondays at Corner Clock, 23 Mile and Hayes roads, Shelby Township, and 8:30 a.m. Fridays at Mama Vicki’s Coney Island, 24989 Hall Road, Chesterfield Township; call 586-725-3152 or go to SSSTC.net.
Vanguard Trout Unlimited for fishing enthusiasts meets 7:30 p.m. second Thursday monthly at Rochester’s Dinosaur Hill. Also, Fishing Buddies Fishing Club gathers 6:30 p.m. third Tuesdays at Rochester Hills OPC, 650 Leticia Drive. Call 248-375-1931.
Macomb Blind Bowlers for visually impaired and/or blind individuals 18 and older, league bowling 11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Fraser Star Lanes, northeast corner of 14 Mile and Garfield roads. Fee $10 per week. Call 586-360-9543.
Patches Squares dance club hosts beginning square dance lessons, 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays at First United Methodist Church of Warren, 5005 Chicago Road. First class (no matter when dancers start) is free, $3 for following sessions. Call 248-613-3169.
Features editor Debbie Komar contributed to this list.
Features editor Debbie Komar contributed to this list.