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In Your Community

Team Rubicon and GAF Partner to Support Hurricane Harvey Rebuild

By GAF Roof Views

September 11, 2020

Team Rubicon and GAF rebuilding after a hurricane in Texas

When Hurricane Harvey struck Texas in 2017, GAF partnered with Team Rubicon to help rebuild local communities impacted by the storm. Learn how you can get involved with Team Rubicon and volunteer to support disaster relief in your area at https://TeamRubiconUSA.org/gafvolunteer

About the Author

More homes and businesses in the U.S. are protected by a GAF roof than by any other product. We are the leading roofing manufacturer in North America, with plants strategically located across the U.S. As a Standard Industries company, GAF is part of the largest roofing and waterproofing business in the world.

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Aerial shot of roofers repairing homes in the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha community.
In Your Community

Helping the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha Tribe Protect What Matters Most

The Louisiana coast has seen several severe weather events in the last decade, which has made it difficult for many people to rebuild their homes and prepare for future storms. This was the case for the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha tribe, a small community accessible only by boat.The group Rebuilding Together New Orleans recognized the impact a joint effort could have on the region. Together with the GAF Community Matters initiative, and roofing contractor Sunbelt Roofs, the group collaborated with the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha tribe to replace five hurricane-damaged roofs in the tribe's coastal Louisiana homeland.Sowing ResilienceThe week-long roof rebuilding initiative was part of the GAF Community Matters commitment to repair or replace 500 roofs throughout the Gulf region. The goal was to further strengthen and empower the resilience of the families, shelters, and livelihoods of the coastal Atakapa Ishak Chawasha tribe.The Timberline HDZ® RoofCycle™ Series Shingle, which is made with recycled material, was used to protect these homes.Adapting Environmentally"We are stewards of the environment," said Rosina Philippe, a tribal elder of the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha tribe, as she spoke with GAF during the week-long rebuilding initiative. Over a millennium, the tribe has resided in the region, finding all it needs to feed and sustain itself from the environment.However, man-made conditions have significantly impacted the tribe's way of life. The once-forested coastal region is now a salt marsh area, devoid of fresh water and trees, due to levees along the Mississippi River and canals cut through the coastal landscape.These changes have made it "more of a challenge to find the food and plants and medicines that we depend on for our livelihood. But we have been finding them, propagating them, and sharing them with other tribes," said Philippe. "Our way is to accept the natural processes, not change them."Fortifying against Unpredictable WeatherIn addition to the tribe's changing landscape, "what we're dealing with is the unpredictability of the weather," said Philippe. Climate change can cause dramatic temperature swings, which can impact everything from the life cycle of the tribe's crops to the protection of its homes.Situated at the southeasternmost lands of Plaquemines Parish, fingerlike marshland trails out into the Gulf. The homes in the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha community are built on stilts along these watery paths and are accessible only by boat. These homes are often the first line of impact with hurricanes that rip through the Gulf of Mexico.Hurricane Ida—the fifth most expensive hurricane in US history—dealt the water-based community a devastating blow. For nearly two years, the hurricane's impact on tribal homes compounded with each subsequent storm because there wasn't an opportunity to repair its damage.Partnering for StrengthFortunately, through collaborative efforts between the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha, Rebuilding Together New Orleans, GAF, and Sunbelt Roofs, the opportunity to build tribal community resilience through new roofs became available. Bringing in roofing materials and roofers by boat, the Sunbelt Roofs team removed the storm- and hurricane-damaged roofs, repaired roof decking as needed, and installed new GAF roofing systems on the five homes.The roofing materials installed are designed to protect against volatile weather like hurricanes. To provide long-lasting protection against leaks and wind-driven rain, Sunbelt Roofs installed StormGuard® Film-Surfaced Leak Barrier and FeltBuster® Synthetic Roofing Felt. To help prevent shingle blow-off due to high-speed winds, Sunbelt Roofs installed Pro-Start® Starter Strip Shingles.The Timberline HDZ® RoofCycle™ Series shingles that were installed have Dura Grip™ Adhesive, which provides advanced protection from shingle blow-off and wind-driven water creating leaks or water damage.Building Communities TogetherThe initiative with the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha tribe is part of a comprehensive $25 million GAF commitment through 2025 to leverage roofing expertise, resources, and products to help support and empower resilient communities' fundamental needs. Through grants, in-kind donations, and hands-on support, GAF Community Matters is partnering with area organizations that know their communities' needs best.In the Gulf region, GAF partnered with organizations such as Rebuilding Together New Orleans, SBP, Good360, Habitat for Humanity, and Team Rubicon to rebuild or repair 500 Gulf region roofs, train a skilled workforce, and empower communities hard-hit by severe weather.Moving ForwardDespite the challenges of climate change and the changes in their physical landscape, Philippe said, "We still live a rich life here." As the environment changes, the tribe adapts, a demonstration of its resiliency. "These are the new norms that we are having to learn and document and chronicle, this is the information we'll have to pass onto our future generations so that they can continue to inhabit this area," she explained.To learn more about the resiliency work at GAF or to get involved, explore the GAF Community Matters initiative. Special thanks to the Atakapa Ishak Chawasha tribe, a member of the First People's Conservation Council of Louisiana.

By Authors Annie Crawford

April 16, 2024

GAF volunteers gather in front of the Ennis, TX plant to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness.
In Your Community

How GAF Team Members Are Making an Impact in Ennis, Texas

Ennis, Texas, might be best known for hosting the National Polka Festival every year, but it's also home to many GAF professionals who support the community.GAF has been part of the Ennis community for over 45 years, where its footprint has grown to include a research and development center and two manufacturing plants. In addition to the work GAF employees complete onsite, many have used their connections to champion local organizations' efforts. GAF knows how important it is to build resilient, thriving communities, and its continued commitments in Ennis offer proof of what's possible.The GAF Ennis Facility's Tradition of Giving BackWith over 260 employees at the Ennis facility, it has a significant impact on the surrounding area. Many team members have worked there for 30 to 40 years, or more, and are lifelong residents of the city. One of the plants manufactures fiberglass mat rolls, a critical component used in roofing materials, while the other plant manufactures shingles. The shingle plant recently expanded to include recycled asphalt briquettes, which will be used in manufacturing recycled asphalt shingles to divert 300,000 tons of waste from landfills.David Tuttle, Senior Director of Residential Operations at GAF, joined the community in 2004 and in 2012 set out to help his friends and neighbors flourish with increased community engagement. He first joined the board of the Ellis County Children's Advocacy Center and has since expanded his service to other organizations, including two local United Way chapters, and the Ennis Boys and Girls Club.Tuttle's work started a legacy of community leadership. For instance, Joe Glanton, the GAF plant's community engagement ambassador, is now President of the Board of Directors of Greater Ennis United Way. Other GAF associates quickly followed suit, demonstrating their commitment to the community by working on local projects as well as joining the board of the Ennis Boys and Girls Club.Today, the tradition of giving back still runs strong. Many local groups and charitable organizations continue to benefit, and the community keeps growing stronger.GAF Ennis Facility's Community ImpactProviding justice, hope, and healingTuttle was instrumental in setting an example for community engagement. After joining the board of the Ellis County Children's Advocacy Center more than a decade ago, he eventually served as Board President. The nonprofit responds to child abuse and sexual assault reports, providing advocacy, forensic interviews, and mental health services to those affected."Our charge is to provide justice, hope, and healing for every child," Tuttle explains. After serving two years as Board President, and two as Past President, his 12-year tenure on the board is ending, but Tuttle has been working to bring other GAF team members into the organization and maintain support for Ennis's youngest residents.Stepping upGAF team member, Angela Adams, who is also an Ennis Boys and Girls Club board member, serves as a mentor through the Mentors Care program. After a Mentors Care representative was invited to speak at the Ennis plant, three of her colleagues signed up to volunteer as mentors. "I was so impressed by the number of employees who showed up to listen to what Mentors Care had to say," Adams notes.Mentors Care matches struggling high school students with mentors who serve as positive role models to help students manage their day-to-day challenges. The nonprofit recently reported that 100% of seniors in the program graduated, 92% of mentored students achieved a 90% school attendance rate, and 89% of students advanced to the next grade level.Unique solutions for unique challengesMatt Neal, GAF engineering manager, serves as Board President of Runnin' Free Ranch, which serves area veterans, at-risk youth, and individuals with special needs through counseling with horses. The organization is working to change the lives of Ennis residents who face unique challenges.A local US Navy veteran who participates in the program wrote that he was "a prisoner of rage and unending bitterness" after he departed from serving. Though he doubted a horse could help him, he eventually realized that "our therapy sessions have comprised of laughter, tears, frustration, and a release of tension that I've never experienced before."Making a direct impact when it's needed mostJoe Glanton has been involved in the evolution of many community organizations, including serving as a board-level leader for the Ennis CARES organization. Founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ennis CARES was developed to help community members with non-emergency needs, including food, health care, and other services. Glanton notes that "it's a natural extension of our work to be as supportive and active as possible with organizations that have a direct impact on protecting what matters most."Ennis CARES will soon break ground on a new community center and "combat multiplier" for local charities, opening space to house a food bank and provide services such as health care for women and seniors.Disaster ResponseRandy Brumley, GAF mat plant Production Process Manager, met Team Rubicon—a disaster response organization—when they visited the Ennis plant. He instantly decided to become a greyshirt volunteer alongside several other team members.Brumley wrote about his first operation, where he responded to Houston neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Harvey. "Team Rubicon is a diamond class organization held together by volunteers—veterans and civilians—and respect at its core," he explains. "For anyone who has the chance, I would say: Step into the arenal!" Brumley has been a part of the Ennis community, and a GAF employee for over 40 years, and also serves as a member of the Ennis Boys and Girls Club.Becoming Part of the CommunityTuttle shares that he and his teammates appreciate that GAF affords them the flexibility and opportunity to give back to their communities. "It's exciting that GAF provides the support and encouragement to go and serve," he says. "We owe it to our communities; we're really blessed and privileged with our jobs and careers and the benefit to go volunteer. Everyone has the ability to go and find a place to serve."With a total of 34 manufacturing locations spread throughout 26 communities across the US, GAF and its team members are well positioned to change lives and help build resiliency nationwide. Curious to learn more about joining the GAF team? Explore the available career options and opportunities to get involved.

By Authors Karen L Edwards

April 09, 2024

Plants, community service and volunteering group in park, garden and nature for sustainable environm
In Your Community

GAF Community Contractor Program Celebrates Success in Seattle

When communities come together, incredible things happen. That's exactly the case in the city of Seattle, Washington, where the GAF Community Contractor Program has made lasting impacts on those in need through partnerships with Habitat for Humanity and ReBuilding Together. Both nonprofit organizations focus on working with homeowners to build new homes and revitalize communities in need of rebuilding, respectively.GAF's partnership with Habitat for Humanity began in 2011. From the start, it felt like a natural pairing. Habitat for Humanity's vision of "building strength, stability and self-reliance in partnership with families in need of decent and affordable housing" aligns perfectly with GAF's commitment to building resiliency in communities across the U.S.GAF recently became involved in ReBuilding Together in the Pacific Northwest through GAF Territory Manager Donovan Gladstone, whose involvement with the board of Roofing Contractors Association of Washington created an opportunity for community partnership. ReBuilding Together's mission of "repairing homes, revitalizing communities, rebuilding lives" is an excellent fit with GAF's commitment to helping neighbors.Helping Contractors Support their CommunitiesGAF invests in the areas where it has manufacturing operations, aiming to lift up the communities where team members live and work. This ideal extends to the GAF Community Contractor Program, where GAF certified contractors can partner with GAF and give back through the following initiatives:GAF Habitat for Humanity Program. With over 1,500 local Habitat for Humanity affiliates in the U.S., GAF-certified contractors can partner with their local chapter to provide the labor to install fully-donated GAF roofing systems. Volunteers don't work alone. Homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor into building their Habitat house.GAF Affordable Housing Reroof Program. This initiative encourages contractors to partner with any 501c3 nonprofit organization in their community for a reroof project, for which GAF will donate the shingles.GAF Roofs for Heroes. GAF-certified contractors can partner with a local 501c3 to perform roof repairs or replacements for local heroes. These heroes include healthcare workers, first responders, veterans, police, fire, and EMTs.As part of the Community Contractor Program's progress in Washington state, more than 20 GAF certified contractors were able to provide over 100 new roofs to those in need of a new roof in the Seattle region, working with Habitat for Humanity and ReBuilding Together. "Giving back is at the core of what GAF does, but bringing in and partnering with our contractors is something that makes us unique," explains GAF Director of Corporate Social Responsibility Arlene Marks.Celebrating Giving Back While Giving Back AgainMarks and Gladstone wanted to host an event to thank the contractors who donated their time and labor to install those roofs and came up with a unique and fun way to extend the spirit of giving through Welcome Home Toolkits. "This was Arlene's idea, and it was such a great one," Gladstone notes.Marks shares, "We try to make all of our events meaningful, so what was the best way that we could reach back out to these homeowners that we've already helped? The Welcome Home Kits were the answer."The contractors attending the event assembled toolkits containing basic items like screwdrivers, nut drivers, adjustable wrenches, pliers, hammers, safety glasses, and more. The kits also include a video message of encouragement from the program participants.Most of the individuals who are helped through the roof donations are first-time homeowners. Accordingly, many don't have the basic tools needed to maintain their homes. The gift of a Welcome Home Toolkit provides so much more than drivers and wrenches, it offers confidence, resilience, and peace of mind.Building Community Among ContractorsIncredible things happen when communities come together—not only for the recipients of the donations, but for the participants as well. GAF-certified contractors in the Seattle region came together to give back to the community while building new professional relationships and friendships at the same time."You're bringing together like-minded people," Marks notes. "While they are competitors in the field, they already have the compassion to help their communities. It was an opportunity to work together toward a common goal to meet, share ideas, and talk about the market in a very safe and non-competitive environment."Impacting the CommunityA representative from Habitat for Humanity attended the appreciation event in Seattle to say thank you and share how much of an impact ReBuilding Together and the contractors' work have had on the community. The Welcome Home Toolkits were provided to both organizations and have gone a long way toward welcoming and inspiring the new homeowners.Looking to get involved in giving back to your community? Visit the GAF Community Matters page to explore different opportunities and get started.

By Authors Karen L Edwards

March 01, 2024

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