PHOTOS BY JESSICA HAAS
MISSISSIPPI VALLE Y DIVISION
Southwest Louisiana homeowner and blue roof recipient Brennon Williams’ home before, as seen above, and after blue roof installation, as seen on next page. Williams’ home was one of 3,730 to receive a blue roof during Hurricane Laura recovery efforts.
USACE, SAMARITAN’S PURSE GO ABOVE AND BEYOND TO HELP STORM SURVIVOR BY JESSICA HA AS, Memphis District
he day I met Mr. Williams, I was looking for his house and drove past it, because I didn’t see it; all I saw were trees,” roofing quality assurance specialist George Hayes recalled. “Honestly, I wasn’t expecting anyone to be home. So many folks evacuated after the storm, I just figured no one was home. As I got closer to the door, I heard his little dog bark. I yelled, “Is anyone home?” and I saw a movement through the window. The door opened, and he drove his wheelchair out onto the front porch. My heart just sank.” At that moment, Hayes knew he needed to go above and beyond to help this man. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) supported southwest Louisiana with Hurricane Laura recovery efforts in more ways
than one. Still, the primary mission remained to provide temporary roofing for homeowners until more permanent repairs could be made. The home and roof must meet specific requirements to qualify for a blue roof. One of those requirements includes the roof not containing too much debris. USACE contractors can remove a branch here and there; however, if the removal requires heavy machinery, the homeowner must make other removal arrangements prior to “blue roofing” their home. That’s why Hayes went the extra mile to help a homeowner in need of additional assistance. “Mr. Williams is a severely disabled man, missing his left leg,” Hayes said. “I wasn’t sure what to think of the situation, but the look in his eyes told me everything I needed to know: He needed help.” 45