Florida Southern Roofing and Others “Caught Doing Good” – First Roofs For Heros Award

Disabled U.S. Army veteran Harris Nelms, 57, still has difficulty comprehending how the kindness of strangers put a new roof on his house, installed new air conditioning, repaired damage from water intrusion and finished it all off with a flagpole and fresh landscaping.

Last August, a 5-by-7-foot section over Nelms’ bedroom fell in, and the damage worsened with each rainstorm.

Nelms sought repair bids. All came in higher than he could afford: $4,500 to $10,500.

For months he slept with only a sheet of plastic between his bed and the weather and stars outside his Colony Cove home.

Nelms shared his plight with a social worker at the Bradenton Community-Based Outpatient Clinic, who remembered Braden River Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12055 members had expressed interest in helping down-on-their luck vets.

George Johnston, the Braden River post chaplain and past commander, said several VFW posts began trying to raise money to help Nelms.

One Braden River VFW member was at a golf tournament where he learned Brian and Tim Wallace, owners of Florida Southern Roofing, wanted to give a free roof to someone in need.

They quickly decided Nelms, who worked in explosive ordnance disposal for the U.S. Army before a training accident ended his military career, was the person they were looking for to receive their first “Roofs for Heroes” award.

A visit to Nelms’ home revealed other serious problems. The Wallace brothers recruited friends and business associates to pitch in.

Roofing Supply Group donated shingles, Kimal Lumber & Hardware gave the plywood, Sean McCutcheon’s Air Conditioning and Heating installed new ductwork and a energy-efficient heating and cooling system donated by Bryant, Matt Ryan Stucco & Plaster installed new drywall panels donated by Construction Supply of Southwest Florida and the Wright Way Emergency Water Removal helped with mold remediation and cleanup.

D&D Painting & Restoration painted the new ceilings and Pestguard Commercial Services installed new plantings and mulch.

Braden River VFW Post members cooked for the construction crew and donated the flagpole that stands outside Nelms’ home.

From The Roofer’s Coffee Shop

Trenton H. Cotney
Florida Bar Certified Construction Lawyer
Trent Cotney, P.A. 
407 N. Howard Avenue
Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33606


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