A Vietnam-era veteran in Baton Rouge received a much-needed early Christmas present Saturday: a new roof. A Prairieville-based contractor and his team provided free labor, helping install the new roof on the home of Noveritte DeLavallade, 70.
"The guy’s a veteran, that's the thing that hit my heart," said Steve Christ, co-owner of Skilled Contractors. He reached out DeLavallade after a 9News report, undertaking the job of fixing the roof.
"They deserve so much for protecting our country and taking care of us. It's those people that should be taken care of once they get home, and I'm glad to be a part of it," Christ said.
Back in September, DeLavallade said a contractor he hired to fix his roof walked off the job, leaving the roof incomplete. Shingles were left stacked on his porch. The roof was covered with a blue tarp.
"If I can just get my house in livable condition where I don’t have to sit in here and frown," DeLavallade said.
On Saturday, Christ and his team removed the old plywood and coating, replacing it with new wood. A local company donated the materials.
Those repairs could not come soon enough. DeLavallade said the past few months have been rough. He said he was constantly afraid to leave his house if the weather looked bad.
"If it rained, I'd have to beat the rain back to my house to put pots down to catch the water," he said.
Christ said he hopes the new roof will relieve those concerns.
"He can rest assured, he doesn't have to be concerned about 'Do I need to stay home or can I go somewhere? Can I go to this movie I want to go to?' He can relax and enjoy his life," Christ said.
DeLavallade said he is overjoyed and thankful for the new roof.
"They're doing it from the goodness of their heart. It restores your faith back in humanity," he said. "They really helped make my Christmas brighter, because for Christmas I wasn't going nowhere. I didn't have the spirit. I was out of it."
And now, he said, he is inspired to take action himself.
"I've got to help somebody else, pass it off," he said.
The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors said the original contractor, Tyrone Dewey, is not licensed. He has been summoned to appear before the board.
He disputes the claim that he walked away, saying he was never paid for the work.