U.S. Air Force veteran Russell Dodson has lived in his south side Chattanooga home for 20 years. Recent heavy rains did a lot of damage to his roof.
"We tore part of it off, then we covered it up with a canvas. The canvas didn't hold," explains Dodson. "I had buckets all downstairs."
He lost a bit of sleep.
"I was up all day and all night with the rain emptying buckets," recalls Dodson.
He's had help here and there along the way, but still has about a third of the roof to repair. Most of his friends and relatives aren't physically able to assist.
At age 73, climbing up and down ladders and doing roof work shouldn't be part of his daily routine. Dodson suffers from several health problems. He carries an oxygen tank with him and lives on a fixed income. He has no home owners insurance. He's paid for the materials himself to save money.
Hiring a professional roofer was out of the question.
"I work until I get tired, then I sit down. Wait a while, then it goes away. Then I get up and go back to work," adds Dodson.
Afraid that Dodson's "old school" reluctance to ask for help could get him hurt, 19-year-old next door neighbor Dalvin Fowler volunteered to pitch in when he's not at work.
"He's too old to be up here by himself," says Fowler. "Somebody needs to come up and help and help him. I told him, on my off days I'll help you. Help you when I can."
He admires and respects his former-military elder.
"It feels good to help somebody who has served," adds Fowler.
"If they were all like him, we wouldn't have no gangs around here," says Dodson. "They'd all be working."
Dodson has the materials to finish the job but what he needs now are more helping hands. He needs to rest, and time is running short as heavy rain is expected by Sunday night.
"I got the knowledge, but the body don't agree with me," says Dodson, chuckling.
There's also sheet rock and insulation to install, followed by painting. Dodson says the roof should take around a day or two to complete for a group of around five volunteers.
If you have time to help this local veteran finish the job, please call him at 423-653-3992.