Monday, February 19, 2018

Volunteers make repairs to Longview retiree's home just in time for Christmas

By Jimmy Daniell Isaac
Dec. 21, 2017 at 12:16 a.m.

Homeowner Patsy Owens gives Jacob Zimmerman from AVCO Roofing a hug  Wednesday, December 20, 2017, as he and other workers get started putting a new roof on her Sandlin St. home. The business donated the job to Owens after being contacted by Longview Police Officer Chip Koepke and Code Supervisor Kenny James about the desperate need for repairs. (Les Hassell/News-Journal Photo)

Santa and his reindeer pounded the roof Wednesday morning of Patsy Owens' home wearing tool belts instead of red velvet.

But these deliverers of holiday cheer weren't imaginary — they were workers for AVCO Roofing Co.

Their gift to Owens, a Longview retiree, was a new roof made possible by generosity and a few phone calls from Longview police and code officers.

"I've been praying for help and praying for help," said Owens, who has lived at her Sandlin Street home almost 30 years.

City code compliance officers discovered the leaky roof and other violations earlier this month during a neighborhood sweep.

Instead of writing a citation, police Sgt. Chip Koepke called Jacob Zimmerman, a former Longview police officer who works at AVCO.

"I worked with Jacob and said, 'Hey this lady needs help. Do y'all do any kind of charity work?'" Koepke said, "and he said, 'Yeah, we do.'"

Officers also are seeking out a tree service to remove fallen vegetation in Owens' yard and seeking other help with removing "appliances in the backyard, tires we've got to get cleaned up," said city Code Compliance Supervisor Kenneth James.

"And then the windows look like they've been piecemealed in," Koepke said. "It looks like over the years, they just kind of got a window that was close to the right size and put it in there, and there's big gaps around it and then they just put plastic over the top of it."

City spokesman Shawn Hara said more work still needs to be done.

"We are hoping that perhaps some other volunteer groups may be able to assist with her and perhaps some other projects that they encounter as well," Hara said.

Owens said she was overwhelmed by the gestures from the city and the company.

"I'm not used to it," said Owens, who lives with four Chihuahuas and a pit bull. "I'm not used to any kind of help. By the grace of God, I'm still standing over all of this. It still hasn't registered to me."

The comparison of her Christmastime helpers to Santa's reindeer on her roof wasn't lost on Owens.

"Yes," she said, "I thought about it a while ago."



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