WEST WARWICK — The roof of U.S. Army veteran Nick Cheshier’s home had seen better days. At more than two decades old, it was plagued by wind and sun damage and was in need of replacement.
But now, thanks to Reliabuild Roofing & Restoration, Habitat for Humanity of West Bay and Northern Rhode Island and Owens Corning, a weathered roof is the least of Nick's worries.
“This is so nice,” Nick said Wednesday morning over the sharp whirring of a power tool, his wife Ashley Cheshier and the two youngest of his four kids on the lawn nearby. “Times are hard right now, especially financially, so this is helping a lot.”
Behind Nick, his home was stripped of shingles, and a crew from North Providence-based Reliabuild Roofing & Restoration was working hard to install a brand new roof.
The Cheshiers, who live in West Warwick, received the free roof through the Owens Corning Roof Deployment Project. An Ohio-based roofing and insulation supplier, Owens Corning founded the initiative as a way of showing gratitude to veterans and their families in 2016, and since then more than 225 military members nationwide have received new roofs.
The family was selected to have their roof replaced through a partnership with the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity. They were joined Wednesday by Amy Gates, president of Habitat for Humanity of West Bay and Northern Rhode Island, as well as Casey and Melanie Ulbrich, owners of Reliabuild Roofing & Restoration.
“They had a need,” Casey Ulbrich said of Nick and Ashley. “We met the family, thought they were great people and wanted to give back to them. We’re happy to provide the service.”
While the materials were donated by Owens Corning, Reliabuild Roofing & Restoration covered the labor costs. All told, Ulbrich estimated the project — which included skylight replacements — to be valued at some $15,000.
Nick enlisted in the Army in 2009, and spent around eight years in the service. He deployed to Iraq in 2011, and left the military in 2017.
Today, he works for Electric Boat.
Nick and Ashley met as students at West Warwick High School. They bought their home in 2015, and when they purchased it the roof was already around 20 years old, Ashley said. In addition to having some sun damage, the roof sustained significant damage during a wind storm in February of last year.
With the new roof installed, Ashley said she’s eager to continue renovations on the nearly 35-year-old home. Next up on the to-do list is to work on the back deck and to replace the siding, she said, and there are renovations she and Nick would like to make to the home's interior, as well.
“It’s motivation,” she said. “It’s what we needed.”
Ashley added that she looks forward to paying it forward by volunteering in the future with Habitat for Humanity and its Veterans Build program.
“We’re just, again, so appreciative,” she said. “It’s a dream come true.”