Mending Puerto Rico Phase 2: Rebuilding roofs in Jayuya

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By: Ben Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
April 19, 2018

Photo: FEMA

JAYUYA, Puerto Rico (WCTV) -- Seven months after Hurricane Maria, more than 1,000 homes in the small city of Jayuya, Puerto Rico are still in need of repair.

WCTV’s Mending Puerto Rico series has showcased how the supplies people from the Big Bend have sent to Jayuya have helped people get back on their feet.

Now, phase two of the project is to put roofs back over their heads. A lot of them.

Jayuya, Puerto Rico is more than 1,000 miles from Tallahassee, or anywhere in the Big Bend. But Streamline Roofing and Construction, Inc. isn’t,

"We'll have enough material going down there to do 40 roofs," Owner Ralph Davis said.

Davis is part of the expanding #TeamJayuya.

And, he's bringing back-up.

"It was kind of rough and rusty. A lot of kinks in it. We kind of build some of the tables, the entrance table, that lets the material feed into it. But, really, it's kind of an old dinosaur type of machine," Davis said.

It's called a Roll Forming Machine. It turns flat metal into roof panel. Ralph and his crew made it operational. This happening just months after Jayuya native David Medina initially found out about it.

"It is overwhelming for me, because today, when I see that machine running, I go back to when Mr. King gave me that phone call," Medina said.

That was in November, right after David returned from delivering supplies to Jayuya.

Jim King, owner of Pumpkins and Christmas by King, already donated proceeds from sales.

He wanted to help more.

"They needed roofs. And, that's when I thought about a man named Buddy Garrison. So, I gave him a call and asked him about this machine that I knew he had," King explained.

Garrison ended up donating it. Things for David got rolling from there.

"It's amazing how Mr. King got in touch with that business owner in Tallahassee, I got in touch with Habitat for Humanity. Habitat got me in touch with Mr. Davis, and it's all coming together," Medina said.

Initially, the second phase was to simply rebuild some homes.

This equipment could do even more.

"Kind of got this idea, where if we teach a man to fish," explained Davis.

Medina says the metal alone costs 30 cents a square foot locally, compared to ten times that on the island.

The ideas is to deliver the machinery and supplies, rebuild some homes, then leave everything in Jayuya so people there can rebuild even more.

"We're going to be able to go to a homeowner that has no financial ability, to pay for a roof at a retail cost of $4800, $4500, and we're able to get this metal roof for about $400. And, we're going to give it to them for free," said Medina.

Of course, someone has to pay for it.

There's the metal itself, then shipping costs from Tallahassee to Puerto Rico. They've raised $20,000 so far, with a goal of $50,000.

"We'll have enough to do about 40 houses with this container load. And, we're already thinking about the next container," King said about this trip.

"This time, we're going with a container that will have 42,000 pounds. And, I know in my heart, this won't be the last one," Medina said.

Distance doesn't matter when there's people's lives to rebuild.

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