By now, most everyone in the county has heard about The Women Roofers -- those exceptional women that have gained notoriety for providing urgently needed repairs to the homes of qualified homeowners in the county. They help with a lot of projects, but mostly, they replace leaky roofs. They've been doing it for 15 years and they've received a good bit of publicity for their good work. They're kind of 'famous' around here.
Recently, Mike Rowe found out about The Women Roofers. Widely known for his TV show 'Dirty Jobs', Mike and his crew came and paid a visit to the 'Shingle Ladies' as he called them.
The ladies were initially told there would be a film crew present on 'roof' day back in February, supposedly making a documentary, but when one of the ladies recognized Mike Rowe, they started wondering what was really going on. Was Mike Rowe going to get up on the roof and help them? Was this a 'Dirty Jobs' episode? Little did they know, a lot of sneaking-around had been going on behind their backs, and it wasn't until late in the day that they learned the real reason for his visit.
To put everything in perspective, it helps to know that back in August of last year, Mike Rowe started producing a series for Facebook Watch called 'Returning the Favor' in which he finds people doing good deeds and does something for them in return. Who knew? Since it's a relatively new project for Mike, none of the ladies had heard about it. Well, who else deserves this more than our own 'shingle ladies'. The video, if you haven't seen it, can be found at www.facebook.com/ReturningTheFavor. It's a very entertaining 26 minute program describing, in great detail, how they 'tricked' the women and ends dramatically with a huge surprise for the Women Roofers. Along with a $15,000.00 line of credit at Henson's and another $30,000.00 pledge of materials and support from GAF, Mike also gifted The Women Roofers with an all-expense paid vacation to Hawaii. After 15 years and 114 roofs, Mike Rowe decided the Women Roofers deserved a vacation -- a really nice relaxing tropical vacation.
Watching that video, and the follow-up live 'Returning the Favor Effects', (both videos can be found at www.facebook.com/Women-Roofers) The Women Roofers, Rutherford Housing Partnership and their beloved mentor, Rev. Billy Honeycutt are all exposed as the long time do-gooders with great big hearts and a deep love for one another, that have worked hard in all types of weather and in many areas around the south, giving of themselves to provide a safe and healthy home for those in need. They are incredible women.
We have learned who they are as a collective, but who are they as individuals? They are retired educators, nurses, business owners, and managers. They are our neighbors and some of them are 'of a certain age'. They objected to Mike Rowe referring to them as 'elderly', but the truth is, with the exception of one, they are in their 50's, 60's and even 70's. That alone is merit enough for praise.
Since their birth in 2002, when only women volunteers showed up to repair a roof with Rev. Honeycutt, there have been many women (and men) climbing those ladders. Many have been inspired to help throughout the years, but the core group of The Women Roofers consists of 12 individuals. The Rutherford Weekly would like to tell you a little more about them - as individuals.
There are many others, men and women, that have gotten up on those roofs. Some older and some younger, some students and some from outside the county... too many to feature here, but inspired by the good work of these twelve women and Rev. Honeycutt. They too, deserve our respect and gratitude. They are the future of The Women Roofers.
What has been born here is a testimony to the human spirit... the desire to help others outweighing their own fears and is inspiration to all of us. They are the living breathing proof of what is 'right' in this world where despair is too often prevalent.
If you'd like information about how to be part this incredible journey by volunteering or donating, please contact Nell Perry Bovender, Rutherford Housing Partnership at 828-248-3431 or www.RutherfordHousingPartnership.com.