VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach veteran received the surprise of a lifetime this week.
Hugh Lansden is a 95-year-old U.S. Navy veteran. He called Ty Haughn with Hydro Proof Roofing a couple of weeks ago to come out and look at his roof.
Haughn is also a veteran.
“My son had talked to some people who had put a roof on for him. I liked what I heard and I had three different outfits that came out and talked,” Lansden said. “But I wasn’t completely happy with it. But I was happy with him before I ever met him.”
Haughn came out to do a routine check and says the roof should’ve been replaced about six years ago.
But after talking with Lansden and getting a 50% deposit put down, Haughn decided he wanted to give back.
“I felt like when I met him, I was talking to my grandfather. It’s an opportunity to give back to someone who’s given so much. If everyone could just do a little something in giving back and being kinder, it’s just a good thing,” Haughn said.
So on Monday, Haughn returned with Lansden’s check and presented him $10,000 as well as a free roof. Haughn says friends and others helped raise money to cover the roof and pay for other personal experiences.
“It’s absolutely again the pleasure of my life to give back to someone like this. He spent 22 years in the Navy. He is one of the founding members of the UDT SEAL teams. His generation were the predecessors to the Navy SEALs. It’s such a great honor to be a veteran and give back to a man who served the country and spent many, many, moons away from home while his wife raised the family,” he said.
Haughn’s friends weren’t the only ones to help assist the roof repair.
The American Warrior Initiative also helped make it possible.
“We are a nonprofit with Fairway Mortgage Company. All the employees pay out of their paycheck,” said Faron Burcker, with the organization. “The main objective is to go around and help veterans in need. It could be veterans suffering from PTSD with service dogs. It could be today, like the veteran who needs a roof to put on a house. That’s our way of paying it back to the veterans. That’s our way of giving something back to the community for everything they’ve done for us.”
Burcker says being able to help in this way means a lot.
“I can’t even express how good it makes you feel. To see the expression on their face, the joy it brings them, and the fact they’ve done so much and haven’t really done much in return, to give them something back, it brings so much joy,” he said.
Haughn said the roof would be finished by the end of the day Monday.
While this is one of the first big charitable projects, he says it definitely isn’t the last.
“To be honest, I feel like it’s a calling for me now to help veterans,” Haughn said.
As for Lansden, the first of these callings means the world to him.
“This is one of the greatest days of my life,” he said.
If you are a veteran in need of help, the American Warrior Initiative has resources. Click here for more information.