CIRCLE PINES — The Montes family woke up to the sound of banging on their roof and found a large crowd gathered on their front lawn Wednesday, Nov. 20.
Ben and Mandy Montes and their three young children live on East Golden Lake Road in Circle Pines and are the latest recipients of a new roof, thanks to the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project. The project is a nationwide effort to show gratitude to and honor the veterans who have served our country and the families who support them. Since 2016, more than 150 roofs have been installed.
Ben served 10 years of active duty in the U.S. Army and remains on active duty with the Army National Guard as a recruiter. In July, he was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer, which had already spread throughout his body.
“This is super amazing. You go through some pretty dark times in life like we are going through right now, and it’s just beautiful to see people who step in to be a light and remind us that there is so much good,” Mandy said. “We are so thankful to the people who have come here today and have been that light.”
The project is a part of Purple Heart Homes, a partnership between Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractors and Habitat for Humanity. The Owens Corning Foundation donated the roofing materials; Advantage Construction, out of East Bethel, donated the labor.
Normally the process of applying and being accepted to the program can take well over a year. In this case, things were expedited thanks to Chris Domstrand, an employee with Advantage Construction, who worked with Ben as a recruiter.
“I knew that he had cancer, but I didn’t know to what extent,” Domstrand recalled. Domstrand explained that Advantage Construction was working on a home and referred to a neighbor, who just so happened to be Ben’s mother. Domstrand asked how he was doing and found out the family was struggling with Ben’s diagnosis and could benefit from a new roof. Domstrand nominated Ben and his family for the program, and the whole process was expedited.
Mandy explained that the roof was already in need of replacement when they moved in and has since been through a couple of hailstorms.
This is the second roof Advantage Construction has installed as part of the Roof Deployment Project. “We try to find a home every year but, believe it or not, it is really hard to get through the vetting process ... There is a lack of candidates being brought to us,” said Heidi Amiot, who owns Advantage Construction with her husband Chris. “Veterans like Ben will never ask for help. They have been taught through training, and I think it is embedded in their personalities.”
Heidi encourages veterans in need to apply for the program online by visiting purplehearthomesusa.org/apply/ or inquiring directly with Advantage Construction.
Ben and Mandy were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. Ben was especially touched by the fact that many of the people installing his new roof were also veterans. Chris said about 60% of Advantage Construction’s employees are veterans.
“I wish I had more words ... thank you, this is amazing. We are so appreciative and grateful for this. It’s incredible,” Ben said.
Mandy added, “It is just beautiful to see how many people are supporting us and want to be a part of something like this. It is not something you experience every day, but we are so grateful to be experiencing it.”
Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.