Crashed roof update

BLYTHEWOOD – After high winds dispensed by Hurricane Irma slammed a tree across the roof of the Boney Road home of Willie and Jeanette Belton last week, prospects looked grim for the future of the home. With no home insurance to pay for the removal of the large tree laying across the length of the roof and framing boards sticking through the ceiling inside, some observers questioned whether the home that Belton built just before the couple was married in 1966 could be repaired. It would, after all, probably take a crane to lift the tree off the roof.

Raymond Palmer, owner of Raymond Palmer Construction, showed up with his backhoe to load the cut up tree into his dump truck.

Nevertheless, Belton insisted that he and his wife would stay in the home they have shared all their married life.

“We can get it fixed,” he insisted, “We have friends and family in the construction business. They’ll help us,” Belton said.

And he was right.

A couple of days later those friends and family showed up and began the daunting task of cutting the tree into two-foot sections and throwing them off the roof.

“It took us about three hours,” said Raymond Palmer who owns R. Palmer Construction in Blythewood. “Kendall Robertson, Darryel Canzater and some other people helped with it, so it didn’t take too long,” Palmer said with a shrug.

Raymond and Tommy Lee Palmer use the backhoe shovel to lift and stabilize the front porch roof so the front door will open.

The next day, Palmer and his brother Tommy Lee Palmer returned with a backhoe and dump truck to load up and haul off the tree sections, advising Belton that the tree was too old for him to use for firewood. The brothers then used the backhoe bucket to raise and stabilize the front porch roof that had been blocking the front door. They also covered the damaged areas of the roof with heavy black roofing paper to protect it from rain until the roof can be repaired.

Then, Saturday afternoon, a woman representing Masedonia Baptist Church on Highway 21 between Blythewood and Ridgeway, dropped by with a donation of money collected by some members of the church.

“And there may be some more coming after Sunday,” the woman told Belton as she handed him a sealed yellow envelope and patted his hand.

Raymond Palmer

“We’re all family here,” she said, talking about the church relationship with the Beltons who attend Bethel Baptist in downtown Blythewood. But she said she is also a cousin of Belton’s and that the extended family includes Beltons, Palmers, Griffins and others.

And members of other churches say they, too, will be making donations.

Town Councilmen Eddie Baughman and Larry Griffin, also a relative, stopped by to check on the Beltons and find out what they need. Baughman later contacted several churches in the Blythewood area who have volunteer mission groups among their members who help out in such emergencies.

“There are resources in our community and it’s a wonderful thing when friends and family are there to help,” Baughman said. “There was a lot of damage to that house and, with no insurance, it would be a big expense. I’m just thankful no one was injured, and I’m thankful to those friends and family who have stepped up to help the Beltons.”

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