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Veteran on hard times gets $30,000 roof free

Andre Lamar
Milford Beacon
Army veteran Angel Ortiz-Delgado, 32, of Milford, stands in front of his home that’s in the process of receiving a new roof for free Sept. 22, as part of the program Operation Homefront, which helps military families in need.

For most of this year, Angel Ortiz-Delgado could afford to keep a roof over his family’s head. But not a new one.

The Army veteran, who’s 32, has been piling up debt since his early 20s (“I was young and dumb”) and now he has a 7-year-old daughter and wife to provide for.

“I recently got laid off, too,” said the Milford vet, who explained he was let go from his job as a field technician a few weeks ago, which was the same kind of work he did in the army.

With a lot on his plate, Ortiz-Delgado said he’s able to breathe a little easier after receiving a free roof Sept. 22, which was through a program called Operation Homefront. The program assists military families during hard financial times by providing services including car and home repair, vision care and rent-free transitional housing.

Ferris Home Improvements provided free labor for the Milford vet’s project, while Owens Corning provided the roof. A representative from Owens Corning said the project was estimated at $30,000.

Owens Corning has helped over 200 military families receive a new roof over the last few years through its Roof Deployment Project.

“It's our way at Owens Corning to give back to veterans in the country for serving,” said Bill Weiner, regional sales manager for Owens Corning.

“This guy went away to defend our country so we could be here, raise families and have a job. “We can’t thank him enough,” said Reds Ferris, owner of Ferris Home Improvements.

“He’s thanking us, but I’m thanking him. This is a great way to step up and make a difference.”

Ortiz-Delgado said he learned about Operation Homefront around July. He filled out the application, which required information about his household income. The rest has been history.

"I'm a blessed man. I was stressed out before this," said Ortiz-Delgado, whose roof needed major improvements. “I had only enough money to pay the bills that I needed to pay so that I could have a roof over my head ... I was worried how long this roof was going to last.”

Ortiz-Delgado said he was medically discharged from the army, and the military sends him a monthly paycheck, but he needs to work to pay his bills and pay down his debt.

Milford army veteran Angel Ortiz-Delgado fist-bumps Reds Ferris, owner of Ferris Home Improvements, outside the vet’s home Sept. 22. Ferris provided free labor that helped the vet receive a free roof worth $30,000.

Meanwhile, Ortiz-Delago said he’s appreciative of his new roof. He also wishes his financial situation were different. But he’s not going to let that discourage him.

"At the end of the day, I stay positive regardless," he said. "If you put out positive vibes, then you’ll see more positive."