RONAN - Marine Corps veteran Edward Anthony and his wife Debbie moved to Ronan in May and were quickly informed they’d lose their insurance if they did not replace their roof.
The Owens Corning National Roof Deployment Project helps veterans around the United States by providing free roofing installations.
They partnered with Mighty Dog in Western Montana to give this service to Ed.
When the Anthonys moved into their new home on May 1, Ed already had concerns about the roof.
The seller convinced him there were no issues, but it later came clear that was not true.
Unexpectedly, they received a letter in the mail saying they had until June 22 to replace the roof, or their insurance would be canceled.
“We were totally caught off guard by this,” Ed says. “We couldn’t afford the amount of cost it was going to take to replace this roof, having just moved in May 1. I didn’t know what we were going to do.”
Debbie says she believed God would help them.
“I just had a feeling it was going to work out. I didn’t get upset like sometimes I do — I can get very nervous and upset, but this time I didn’t, I just had a peace, that it was going to be okay,” she says.
Luckily, Debbie’s feeling was right.
After calling two other roofing companies, Ed contacted Mighty Dog, and they informed him of the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Program.
They work with contractors across the country to provide free roof installations for veterans.
They've helped over 450 veterans, but it’s partnership with Mighty Dog was their first project in Montana.
An employee at Mighty Dog encouraged Ed to apply, and within three days of sending his application, Ed heard that he was chosen.
“Definitely a burden lifted off for sure,” Ed says. “We’re very grateful, very thankful.”
Nick Whitehead, the owner of Mighty Dog Roofing based out of Missoula, is a service member himself with the United States National Guard and is set to deploy to Iraq on Aug. 1.
He says having the opportunity to give back to veterans is a blessing.
“The fact that we’re able to offer this surface to protect their investment, protect their property, it’s amazing,” he says. “It’s not about us, this is about the veterans and taking care of them. They’ve served above and beyond, most have. It’s a thankless job sometimes, and it’s just an honor to be able to do it for them.”
Ed served in the United States Marine Corps from 1971 to 1976. He was deployed to Vietnam in 1972 as part of the Easter Offensive.
When he returned to the States, he struggled with PTSD and addiction. After he met his wife and went through counseling at the VA, he became a pastor in Florida.
“We did cowboy church for ten years,” he says. “And it has been very rewarding.”
In November, the couple moved from Florida to Hamilton, near Debbie's only grandson. Now, based in Ronan, they take frequent drives into the mountains.
“I love the wildlife,” Ed says.
The free roof, while it saved the Anthonys over $12,000, means more to Ed than just shingles.
“We all went through a lot, and when we came home, we didn’t get any recognition. Not that we wanted any, but a pat on the back would have been nice,” he says. “So to see Mighty Dog come along and do what they’re doing, it takes all that away. It shows we’re not forgotten, and that God is still in control.”