Author: Ryan Hill
DCDEE’s Lori Herrick with Mike Rowe. Photo courtesy of Herrick.
May 30, 2018 – DHHS employee Lori Herrick works hard to make sure child care facilities provide appropriate care, but she also has a passion for helping poor families keep a good roof over their homes.
Herrick, an investigations consultant with DHHS’ Division of Child Development and Early Education, appeared on a recent episode of “Returning the Favor,” a Facebook show hosted by Mike Rowe that highlights people paying it forward in their community.
Herrick and Susie Kernodle co-founded the Women Roofers Group, a collective of women aged 50 or older who volunteer their time fixing roofs for Rutherford County residents in need.
The group sprang from a Sunday school class at First Baptist Church in Rutherfordton that agreed to help with a United Way Week of Caring project. Herrick and Kernodle were the only two from the group that showed up to roof on the scheduled day.
After spending the day roofing, Herrick decided she would find a group of women who could volunteer as roofers, and the Women Roofers Group was born.
“Here we are 15 year later, 116 roofs later,” Herrick said.
By fixing roofs, the group gives people without the financial resources the means to maintain and keep a home healthy and safe.
For “Returning the Favor,” host Mike Rowe even took part in the roofing. “Rosie the Riveter would be proud,” he said.
“The experience was surreal,” Herrick said. “When Mike walked up on the roof, most of the women did not know who he was until I said, ‘You know, Mike Rowe from ‘Dirty Jobs.’” (“Dirty Jobs” was a show that aired on the Discovery Channel and highlighted jobs where workers had to perform some often unpleasant occupational tasks.)
The Women’s Roofers Group was given three years’ worth of shingles, roofing tools and other supplies, courtesy of “Returning the Favor.” They were also surprised with a vacation to Hawaii, though the group later changed the location to Costa Rica.
“At the time, we were so overwhelmed we couldn’t process what was happening,” Herrick said.
Herrick said the Women Roofers Group has developed a true comradery.
“They come up on the roof to do one thing, and that’s to roof a house and make somebody’s life better for today,” she said. “The rest of it is icing on the cake.”