Benton County roofer gifts new roof to WWII veteran following derecho

Repairs to homes following the August derecho are still happening all across eastern Iowa, but one Cedar Rapids veteran didn't have to wait too long for his.
Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 7:00 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Repairs to homes following the August 10 derecho are still happening all across eastern Iowa, but one Cedar Rapids veteran didn’t have to wait too long for his new roof after a roofer in Benton County heard about his home taking on plenty of damage.

The roofer offered up help – for free.

“Well my name is Glen, but nobody knows me by that, I go by Bud,” Bud Mendel, 94, said.

The World War II Navy veteran can now sit comfortably in his newly-roofed Cedar Rapids home. It’s the same home that suffered a tree through the roof in the derecho.

“We was running in here with buckets catching that water,” Mendel said.

Even though Mendel served in the war in the Pacific, watching the derecho out his front window was nothing like he’d ever seen.

“I was in a typhoon off the west coast of California and I had waves come over the top of the radar on the carrier and that was nothing compared to this,” Mendel said.

Mendel said he wasn’t sure when his home would have ever gotten fixed. He was still waiting to learn how much insurance would cover. That was until Rion Schulze, with Schulze Enterprises Rhino Roofing, heard Mendel’s story.

“We are all empathetic by nature, we all possess some sort of a means to help someone else using our time talents, resources as people,” Schulze said.

It was Schulze’s empathy and respect for veterans like Bud that led to him gifting an entirely new roof. That left Mendel safe and dry, avoiding what could have been a months-long wait for his repairs during the cold winter.

“I couldn’t believe it, nobody works for nothing anymore,” Mendel said.

Bud’s family is grateful for the gift.

“That’s kind of like you are an angel doing something like that, that’s doing something for the people,” Bill Merritt, Mendel’s nephew-in-law, said.

Schulze helps someone in need of a roof every year but said deciding who that person would be this year was an easy choice.

“We should take care of our veterans, we should do everything we can to can to help our veterans out," Schulze said. “You have to pay those people back somehow for their services.”

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