NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — It’s been five years since Norfolk resident Maggie Byrum lost the love of her life.
“He was a very nice man. We had 13 foster kids,” Byrum stated.
Her late husband, William Byrum, was a Norfolk firefighter for many years. She says he was dedicated to a life of service.
“He’d go to work every day. He was hurt many times. The last one is what really brought him down. It was a three-alarm fire over in South Norfolk. He went through two floors and they had to go in and find him. He was in the hospital for six months,” said Byrum.
Byrum says ultimately, he died from sepsis, which caused his kidneys to shut down.
Since his death, she’s been maintaining the home the best she can. But a little over a year ago, the roof started leaking.
“My girlfriend came to stay when I had surgery and there was a leak right over her bed so that was the first leak,” she said, giggling.
From there, leaks started popping up all over. She called SB Roofing to see what they could do, and the owner, Scott Byrd, came to check it out.
“When I came to the door, I noticed a sticker that said ‘Norfolk fire and rescue retiree,'” Byrd said.
With Byrd being a Norfolk firefighter himself, they instantly hit it off. He says the roof was beyond any small repair and needed to be redone completely.
“I knew she was on a tight budget and couldn’t afford a new roof so that’s when I just felt compelled to help her out,” Byrd said.
He worked with three other Norfolk firefighters who owned companies to cover the labor costs: Island Pool services, Tidewater Chimney Sweeps, and Hawk Mosquito and Pest Control.
Then, ABC Supply donated all the material and GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, donated the shingles.
With their teamwork, Byrum’s new roof didn’t cost her a penny.
It’s a gift she says is a blessing that can’t be put into words. It proves that even though her husband has passed away, her family of firefighters always has her back.
“Once a fireman always a fireman — my husband always said that,” Byrum said with a smile.