JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A local roofing company is giving back by putting new roofs on the homes of three deserving families, and it was all a surprise. It's part of a new initiative created by Reliant Roofing called Every Shingle Heart.
"I kind of held on to the chair because I was fixing to fall out," said Ruby McMullen, who was close to losing her home because of the roof damage and couldn't afford repairs.
She has one of three stories that touched the hearts of Reliant Roofing.
"Every time it rains, we have some new leak. It's been difficult ever since Hurricane Mathew," said Angie Billings, of Orange Park.
A roof is the least of Billings' worries. In 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Just days after her double mastectomy, her fiance died suddenly, but she continues to stay positive.
"Cancer and losing somebody you love, there's always someone who has it worse than you," Billings said. "I know it sounds terrible, but it's true. You look around and you think my life isn't so bad."
Tina Velazquez, a disabled Army veteran, recently moved from Puerto Rico back to Jacksonville to take care of her mother, who ha been in the hospital after several strokes. That's when she noticed the extensive damage Hurricane Mathew caused to the roof.
"There's mildew and mold because of the water. It's been leaking now since the storm," Velazquez said. "She really couldn't maintain it because of her health, and so it's been one thing after the other and I'm trying to pick up the pieces."
Cameron Shouppe, president of Reliant Roofing, said that it was clear that the three families badly needed their help.
"As soon as I saw their reaction I knew we found the right people," Shouppe said. "This was a major item causing stress and grief in their life and this was going to make a huge difference for them."
Reliant Roofing plans to continue the Every Shingle Heart roof giveaway every year with hopes to expand and collaborate with other companies.