New roof means new path for recovery for Bay St. Louis veteran

Army veteran Tracie Lewis gives a hug to Carey Hammett of Habitat for Humanity Bay-Waveland Area, as her home gets a new roof thanks to a group effort.
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 5:14 PM CST
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BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (WLOX) - An Army veteran in need now literally has a roof over her head. For Tracie Lewis, this new roof has paved a new road to healing.

“It means the world to me because I didn’t know what I was going to do,” she said. “It was very devastating.”

Her Bay St. Louis home has been in disrepair since the roof was heavily damaged in Hurricane Zeta.

“It’s like three trees came down on it,” Lewis described. “And when the fire department came in, they told me that I had to get out because it was going to collapse.”

She had no insurance, and she said she missed the deadline for FEMA assistance because she was still in treatment for her PTSD, a condition made worse by her environment.

Habitat for Humanity Bay-Waveland Area helped find the resources through the Owens Corning National Roof Deployment Project for veterans, which provided the materials.

“It is the right thing to do,” said Owens Corning representative Dick Dickinson. “We’re here to serve these people who have served for us as well. It’s a good thing. We have a lot of people in the community come together to make this project happen.”

When all is said and done, it won’t be just a minimal roof. It will be put together by the best hands using the best material.

Best Choice Roofing out of Hattiesburg did the installation.

“We thought it was a great opportunity to help someone out in the local community because we’re kind of new in the Hattiesburg area,” said Best Choice Roofing Hattiesburg manager Micha Price. “It’s trying to get us out. Good for the community. Miss Lewis, she’s a veteran. She deserves it.”

Lewis’s home still has damage on the inside; it’s work that Habitat for Humanity will take on immediately.

“The volunteers every day tell me the same thing,” said Carey Hammett with Habitat for Humanity Bay-Waveland Area. “It is far greater to give than receive, and every volunteer that comes on the site leaves a better and happier person as a result of it.”

More than 300 military members have received new roofs since Owens Corning began the project in 2016.

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