THUNDER BAY - Neil Hrabowy has built his career and business around putting roofs over people’s heads. But sometimes, the wood, nails, and shingles that hold a roof together do a lot more than just provide shelter, they provide a second chance.
On Monday, Hrabowy, owner of Thunder Bay Roofing, donated $1,500 to Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay. The donation comes in addition to his company already building the roof for the 2017 Habitat build.
“I was excited to get on board and really eager to help the organization out and we are doing it again for the 2018 build and I hope I’m here as long as I’m in business because it’s a great cause and it’s not much out of my guys days to get this done and it’s a big help,” Hrabowy said.
Thunder Bay Roofing stepped in after the previous company was unable to continue its commitment to Habitat for Humanity. Dan Stezenko, CEO for Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay, said local companies and volunteers make the homes they build possible.
“They are the lifeblood of what we do,” he said. “We are a volunteer organization and we count on companies to help us out with our builds and keep our costs down and Neil is the quintessential example of what a great business person is in Thunder Bay.”
For Hrabowy, contributing to a cause like Habitat for Humanity is a way for him to not only give back to the community, but to do so by sharing his skills as a tradesperson.
“There are a lot of skilled tradesmen, talented guys in this city that should be giving back,” he said. “This is something we do every day, day in, day out, we help friends, and we help families, so why not help a very good cause in this city. It’s an easy choice.”
The 2017 build on Dease Street is expected to be completed by late November. With much of the structure already complete, all that is left to finish is the electrical, drywall, and plumbing. It will then be move in day for new homeowner, Ron Sawchuk, who has been on site every day helping the team of volunteers make his dream of homeownership come true.
“When I get to do stuff like this, it means the world to me and I know it means the world to my guys, too,” Hrabowy said. “They really care about this.”
Habitat for Humanity relies entirely on donations and all builds are done by volunteers. But in order to continue to provide homes to people in need, Stezenko said the local chapter is in desperate need of donations, especially land.
“It’s very expensive to build a house,” he said. “We are not just building a small project, we are building an entire home. And we are also giving them land as well. We rely very heavily on donations to be able to do what we do, of both money and land. We are making a plea to the public for land because we are running out of lots.”
For more information on how to donate, visit the Habitat for Humanity Thunder Bay website.