Roofing company steps up to give Alice veteran a new roof

Melissa Cantu Trevino
Alice Echo News Journal
Homeowner Juan Manrique and Veterans Service Officer David Salinas Jr. met with contractors from RoofTop 101 to fix Manrique's roof. Pictured (LtoR) Back Row: Marc Rueda, Michael Landwert, David Salinas Jr. and Paul Rueda. Front Row: Juan Manrique

A recent news story about an Alice man in desperate need of a roof caught the attention of a roofing company. After years of searching for help, Juan Manrique is finally getting help and a new roof.

Manrique's home, on the 1000 block of St. Mary's Street, has been in disrepair since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Ever since, Manrique said his house would leak every time it rained and he had to arrange his belongings so they wouldn't get destroyed.

Manrique, an Army veteran, shares the home with his wife of 49 years, Idalia.

“It wasn't so much the material stuff. My wife is sick. Since the roof leaks, you can see the damage that it's done to the inside of my house,” Manrique said. “This has been happening for years. It started off with minor things, but I'm not young. How can I fix this stuff myself? Maybe if I was younger.”

Inside the house there's evidence of the water damage along with mold and fungus. Manrique and his wife had resorted to living in the front part of the home and spending most of their time in their bedroom.

The Alice community has been there to help him in the past, but usually for medical expenses the couple has due to Idalia's health. He said he didn't think the news story would get him any help, but it was worth a try.

Paul Rueda, a project manager with RoofTop 101, happened to see the news story and immediately knew that this was a job for the company. He called his boss, Michael Landwert, and they both got to work on how they could help this veteran in need.

The company is from San Marcos but recently branched out to Corpus Christi. They had made some connections in the Coastal Bend and were able to made contact with Manrique. Manrique was “excited” about the idea that he was finally going to get a new roof.

David Salinas Jr., the Jim Wells County Veterans Service officer, was one of the first people Manrique told about the new roof on his 1,300 square foot home. Salinas was visiting Manrique as he was making fan deliveries for veterans.

“I saw the card and I called to see what was going on and now everything's rolling,” Salinas said. “These guys are stepping up. It's a blessing for what they're doing for our veterans... Things will be a whole lot easier for him.”

On Tuesday, June 29, RoofTop 101 arrived at Manrique's home and placed a tarp on the back part of the home to stop the leaks until they could replace the roof.

“There were 5-gallon buckets all over the inside under leaks,” said Paul Rueda, project manager for RoofTop 101. “We needed to do something.”

Juan Manrique, Veterans Service Officer David Salinas Jr. and Contractors with RoofTop 101 Contractors Paul Rueda, Michael Landwert and Marc Rueda evaluate the roof of Manrique's home.

On Monday, July 5, McCoy's will deliver lifetime shingles and supplies to start the project first thing the following morning.

“We're going to do the whole roof. We have him scheduled for Tuesday. The guy will be out, he'll pull in his trailer, rip every single thing off, all the way to the decking and the valley. Replace everything and toss in the trailer. All knew...All the way around a whole brand new roof,” Landwert said.

Landwert said the roof will be an 8-hour job and would normally have an estimated cost of $5,000, but Manrique won't pay a cent on the project.

“We're going to take care of everything for (Manrique),” Landwert said. “I've got a heart for veterans. My dad was a veteran, my grandfather was a veteran.”

Landwert understands the sacrifices veterans make and then to not have the basic necessities for a comfortable living after sacrificing everything to fight for their country.

“I live in San Marcos. I come down here and work three to four days. I miss my family like crazy. You think about a veteran who goes off to the military and they're gone for who knows how long, if they ever come back,” Landwert said. That's the ultimate sacrifice for the country. So if you've got issues and you're going to struggle, you got something going on, then someone needs to step up and do something.”

Landwert said they don't help for the publicity. They just do it out of their hearts for those who fought for their country. This isn't the first time they've helped veterans.

“These guys didn't ask for the recognition, but it needs to be known. These guys are doing something that not just anybody would do,” Salinas said. “They're happy to do it without the attention, but they need to be commended.”

“I appreciate what everybody's doing. They came all this way to help me out,” Manrique said. “I appreciate it. What they're doing for me and my wife no one else will do. With the roof fixed, slowly I can find ways to fix the inside. I won't have to worry as much for my wife.”

Manrique thanks everyone who has been a “God-send” to him and his wife especially RoofTop 101, Servando “Wolf “ Garza, Salinas and County Judge Juan Rodriguez.