In The Spirit of Thanksgiving
Tuesday morning, an otherwise quiet street corner in west Davidson, wasn’t very quiet. A crew from Carolina Roof Consultants, including owners Mike McCoy and Jeremy Liszewski, arrived on the scene early.
They parked their trucks, and unloaded their equipment and supplies at an otherwise un-designated “historic” home in Davidson. The home was built in 1926, and one of the original residents was Ms. Ada Jenkins. Ruby Houston lives in the house today, and has owned the house for decades. Before that, her parents Ollie and Bernice Houston owned the home, and Ruby and Karen grew up there.
As detailed in a 2017 News of Davidson “Davidson History” article by Nancy Griffith, Ada Jenkins was a powerful force in our town. In the mid-1930s, Ada Jenkins worked with Ruby and Kay’s grandfather, Logan Houston, to build a new bigger schoolhouse for the Davidson Colored School. The existing school was a three-room wooden building that was often filled to capacity, and ironically – one of the biggest issues was that the roof leaked.
Logan Houston and Ada Jenkins, worked tirelessly raise the money to build a bigger, brick school building to replace the aging three-room wooden schoolhouse. Nancy Griffith’s article included the following details: “The PTA sponsored fish fries and fruit sales. Members of the community carried bricks from an old building at Davidson College and helped to lay the new stone foundation.”
The new Davidson Colored School was built in 1938, and Ada Jenkins subsequently served as the principal. That school is now a Community Center that bears her name, and sits just a stone’s throw from the house on Sloan Street.
Several months ago a member of the Davidson community reached out to Carolina Roof Consultants’ owner Mike McCoy, telling him about Ruby Houston’s story, her home’s need for a new roof, and the history of the home.
“When I heard about Ms. Houston, I was moved at her story and immediately felt led to help” McCoy said. “Ruby has spent her life caring for the needs of others. We were honored to take a giant weight off her shoulders – especially as a part of our Thanksgiving ‘Giving Thanks’ effort that includes several roofing projects around the region.”
Last week, McCoy and partner Jeremy Liszewski visited Ruby Houston for what she thought was a standard pre-appraisal walk around her house to get an estimate for the roofing project. When they finished the walk around, Mike and Jeremy surprised Ruby with the news that Carolina Roof Consultants would be giving her a new roof – on one condition. That condition is that she continue to “pay it forward,” sharing her time and talents with those in need. Ruby quickly agreed.
Tuesday, the five-man CRC crew removed the existing shingles and tar paper. They found and replaced several areas of water-damaged plywood. As with many older homes, a layer of plywood had been placed over the original 1×10” solid wood planks at some point in time. After replacing the plywood, the crew put down a layer of a new and improved synthetic underlayment before installing the new roof shingles. The new architectural shingles even have 3M Scotchgard built in.
When the hammers and nail guns went silent, Ruby went to work. It didn’t take long for her to start “paying it forward.” She fed the crew, and thanked them for their work. There is little doubt that it won’t be her last effort to continuing paying gratitude forward – across Davidson and beyond.
As one of the members of the crew was cleaning up, he smiled and said “this was even better than Thanksgiving this year.”
Indeed, In the midst of the COVID pandemic, this might be one of the most profound statements we have heard in a while.
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Carolina Roof Consultants has served the Davidson community, and the greater Charlotte region, for nearly 11 years. They are active in local philanthropy and community service. In 2019 they re-roofed all of the townhomes in the St. Albans neighborhood, as well as St. Alban’s Episcopal church, and a number of the single family homes in the neighborhood. They followed up that big project with a donation to the Davidson Housing Coalition – re-roofing one of their homes. More recently, they donated three free roofs to nurses during the pandemic.