Strangers surprise Santaquin Army vet with new roof

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SANTAQUIN — An Army veteran in need of money for a new roof left his house Friday morning and returned to find a brand new roof installed by complete strangers from the surrounding community.

Last fall, George Hoffman met with roofer Mark Martineau to see how much it would cost to fix his roof that was damaged from strong winds.

“I gave him a price and he said he would have to save enough money for next year to do the roof,” Martineau said.

Martineau found out that Hoffman is an Army veteran who moved to Utah from Wyoming two years ago for a better job for his family.

That was enough for Martineau to want to help him, but when he discovered the reason why Hoffman didn't have the money right away, he started thinking of doing it for free.

“I've been thinking about him for a long time. and he's never left my mind, Martineau said. “Just for what he's done and what his family has been though with his daughter having cancer.”

Hoffman's daughter had a brain tumor removed when she was 3 months old.

Martineau spread Hoffman's story and his plan on Facebook and his blog, and within hours had people volunteering.

I've been thinking about him for a long time. and he's never left my mind. Just for what he's done and what his family has been though with his daughter having cancer.

–Mark Martineau

He got Hoffman's wife to get him out of the house for a couple of hours. Dozens of volunteers came to donate their time and talents as they installed a brand new roof on the Hoffman's house, all with donated materials by Roofers Supply Co., thanks to Martineau.

When Hoffman's wife returned him to the house, he cried for the second time this year.

“We just want to say thank you for what you've done and God bless you,” Hoffman told the volunteers.

Hoffman hugged every single one of them.

“It's just amazing,” Hoffman said. “I mean, just the heart and the love.”

Martineau wouldn't even let Hoffman buy lunch for the guys.

“My heart goes out to these guys. It means a lot,” Hoffman said. “How do I repay it? How do I … the only thing I can do is pay it forward, and that's all I say is pay things forward, you know? If someone helps you out, help the next person out that you can.”

Their young daughter has been doing much better, her parents said, and has been cancer-free for a year this week.


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