EGG HARBOR CITY — On Thursday morning, Leonard Forand Jr. had some unexpected guests at his home and they came bearing a surprise gift — a new roof.
For the past 14 years, East Coast Roofing, Siding & Windows has donated at least one roof to a South Jersey resident who cannot afford to replace it himself.
Since 2020 due to the pandemic, the giveaway placed an emphasis on awarding new roofs to those who work as first responders.
This year’s giveaway had two winners, with a Hainesport, Burlington County, resident winning the other new roof Tuesday.
Forand, a fire chief for the Green Bank Volunteer Fire Company in Egg Harbor City, and owns his own business, was nominated by his daughter.
At 9 a.m. Thursday, representatives from East Coast Roofing, local first responders and members of Forand’s family gathered outside of his home to surprise him. Chick-Fil-A in Egg Harbor Township donated breakfast for those in attendance, as well as sent their cow mascot for the event.
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Forand knew his daughter had nominated him, but he did not anticipate being chosen.
Forand became a single dad of three when his wife died from cancer in 2013. Last year, he faced a cancer diagnosis himself, but is now cancer-free.
His roof has been leaking for about three years and the interior of his home is stained from the leaks. Unable to fix his roof on his own, the leaks and stains have built up. Forand didn’t bother to get rid of the stains since the roof would continue to leak and continuously contribute to the stains.
“I’m so appreciative. I’ve been putting off for so long just because I was going through cancer treatment and I always do everything myself. I’m like, ‘Well can I hold off till next spring and maybe I’ll feel better and be able to do it or give me more time to save money and maybe I’ll pay for it,’” said Forand.
“It’s like a prayer answered.”