WHEELING - A homeowner in the Friendly City is receiving some help from above today.
Starting bright and early, a group of apprentices from Roofers Local 188 in Warwood will be putting a new roof on the garage behind David Howard's home, located near the union's office at 2003 Warwood Ave.
Apprenticeship Coordinator John Dolak said the project will serve as a voluntary training session for the 13 students currently enrolled in the program. The union has a well-established apprenticeship program for commercial roofing, and he said they're starting to expand into the residential side.
Photo by Ian Hicks
John Dolak, apprenticeship coordinator for Roofers Local 188 in Warwood, stands outside the garage behind David Howard’s home in Warwood, which will soon have a new roof thanks to the work of the union’s apprentices.
Business Manager Gary Zadai said the union is looking to get more involved in the community, and with only an alley separating the union hall from the Howards' home, it was a perfect opportunity.
"They've had a tarp on the garage for at least two years, so we're trying to help them out," Dolak said. "We just want to give a little bit back to the valley. It's good for us, it's good for everybody."
Area businesses have donated all the materials needed for the job - including Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal of Wheeling, ABC Supply of Benwood, 84 Lumber of Bridgeport and McClure-Johnson of Braddock, Pa.
Completing the apprenticeship program is a five- to six-year process that includes a mix of hands-on work and classroom instruction, and Dolak said that's because roofers' work must be done with the utmost skill and professionalism.
"If you think about it, if you own a home -or a building, period - if you don't have a good roof on it, nothing underneath it's any good," he said.
Not only will the garage project give the apprentices a chance to apply what they've been learning, it will give instructor Bill Porter a good opportunity to hammer on the most important lesson the students will learn - safety.
"That's our first thing. ... We do have a very dangerous trade," Dolak said. "When it comes to high-risk (professions), we're right there in the top five."
For more information about the union's apprenticeship program, call 304-277-2300.