A job that took three days for McConnaughhay Roofing saved the VFW years in Ottawa.
The Ottawa roofing company, along with the Ottawa Roofer Union Local 11, recently replaced the roof of Ottawa’s VFW Hall – a project that would have cost nearly $50,000 – at no cost to the veterans’ organization.
What we’ve done for them is pebbles compared to what they’ve done for us, so we’re more than happy to do so. We are happy to help the men and women who have served.
– Jamie McConnaughhay, the company foreman at McConnaughhay Roofing
Jamie McConnaughhay, the company’s foreman and son of owner Keith McConnaughhay, said he and some of his workers would stop by the hall at 1501 La Salle St. after work and couldn’t help but notice that “they were feeling pretty bad about the leaks.” .” VFW workers even had to set down buckets to catch the rain that ran through the old, damaged roof.
“We’ve done some repair work for them over the years, but it just got to a point where the roof just couldn’t be repaired,” said Jamie McConnaughhay. “There are buckets with water that flows in, it doesn’t swim with me, not with them.”
McConnaughhay went to his father for the OK to provide materials and labor and also asked the local roofer for help. Together they took about three days to complete the project, but it would have taken VFW years to save up for it.
“We knew their membership was declining,” said Jamie McConnaughhay, “and like everyone else, they were struggling to find funding for a project of this magnitude
“What we’ve done for them is pebbles compared to what they’ve done for us, so we’re beyond happy about that. We are happy to help the men and women who have served.”
VFW Post Commander Mike Gladd said the organization has received help from so many, including the City of Ottawa, Illinois Valley Plumbing and other veterans clubs like the American Legion. The first step was to update the toilet area and now that that was done attention turned to the roof, a project that had been in talks for almost five years but seemed financially out of reach.
The McConnaughhay gesture came just in time.
“Thank god for Jamie and Keith and the union guys that did that for us,” Gladd said. “With the finances and the difficulties we were having, being closed for a while, it took a lot just for the doors to open again… Once we got back established, we started figuring out what to do, and prioritized things as far as the infrastructure goes.
“But my conversations with Jamie came down to this one and thank goodness they came down to a game plan, the materials and some union help, all of which were donated. God loves them all because we weren’t sure what we were going to do. They stepped forward and came through for us. To be honest it brought a tear to my eye.
“Times have changed in this country and people, out of the goodness of their hearts, don’t help each other like they used to. It’s discouraging… but when something like this happens, faith in humanity replenishes it.”