Leesburg has always been home for Ann Harris.
But the house she's lived in for years has seen lots of loved ones come and go from cancer.
Harris' sister and husband both died of the disease. Her father was diagnosed with colon cancer. And the house is now home to her sister's children, who Harris is raising in her absence while caring for her father.
The situation leaves little extra money for home improvements, so for the past several years, Harris has gone without a roof. Those that pass by her home can spot it by the blue tarp tied down across the top, in an attempt to shield those inside from the elements.
But this Christmas, Harris and her family got an unexpected gift: a free roof from Sterling's DryHome Roofing & Siding.
“It is heartbreaking to drive by and see the blue tarp that covers her home and knowing that a gracious, humble older woman lives there without the means to get a real roof and actually feel warm this winter...[a free roof] would be an enormous savings and blessing for this lovely lady," said neighbor Kelly McKnight, who nominated her for the award.
Doorways for Women and Families’ Safehouse in Arlington also got a free roof from the company, which is celebrating its 10th year of free giveaways.
“Over the past decade, we’ve given roofs to individuals and nonprofits throughout Northern Virginia. So it’s fitting that we have one of each as this year’s recipients. In both cases, the new roofs will help ease the burden of many struggling women in our community,” said Steve Gotschi, DryHome’s owner, in a statement. “I’m thankful that we could play a small role in making the holidays better for them.”
The winners were selected from a group of nominations submitted by customers and the community, DryHome said in a statement.
“The whole DryHome team is doubly inspired since we get to use our skills to help two neighbors in need of roofs. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this effort,” added Gotschi. “I know what it’s like to struggle, and this effort is my opportunity to thank all those who helped me along the way.”
It's not the first time someone in Leesburg has benefitted from the program: Barbara Green, a recent widow and school bus driver of 35 years, won a new roof last year. Loudoun-based Good Shepherd Alliance has also received a roof in years past.