Owens Corning – Habitat for Humanity

JACKSON, MI - Getting a new, donated roof on his home was a "miracle" for Jackson's Richard Zaski.

The 93-year-old U.S. Navy World War II veteran has lived in the 500 block of N. Pleasant Street since 1955.

He's done a lot of work on his house to "get it looking how he wants it," he said. But after more than 30 years of being retired, his money running low and the roof over his head deteriorating, Zaski needed help.

It came Tuesday, July 25, courtesy of Owens Corning, Habitat for Humanity and Neighborhood Roofing of Ann Arbor.  

"These people are angels," Zaski said. "They are beautiful people and I love them and what they are doing for me. I'll never forget it. I'll take it to my grave."

The materials for Zaski's new roof were donated through Owens Corning's nationwide Roof Development Project.

The project has put new roofs on more than 30 homes across the country since it began in March 2016, said Matt Schroder, Roof Development Project program coordinator. Owens Corning partners with Habitat for Humanity and local contractors like Neighborhood Roofing to provide the new roofs, he said.

Zaski's roof had multiple old layers, which made it more difficult to remove, said Keith Kinaschuk of Neighborhood Roofing. 

The project would normally cost an estimated $15,000, Kinaschuk said. But helping a veteran made the work worthwhile, he said. 

"Sometimes, you just need a helping hand," he said. "Because he's a veteran, we are going to take care of him. That's why we're here."

Zaski served in 13 major battles in the South Pacific from 1943-46, including Iwo Jima, he said. He was stationed on the USS Oakland, which was anchored next to the USS Missouri during the surrender of Japan, he said.

Although sometimes he feels his service has been forgotten by some, Zaski said moments like Tuesday make him feel honored again.

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