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“I just need a piece of tin 17-by-17.”

Having to choose between home and heart for him was an easy decision. Every rainstorm, Leroy Carter and his wife (both in their seventies) would watch the rain through their roof fill buckets in their Pooler home. Mr. Carter would be up all night emptying them to make sure they did not overflow into the house. Mr. Carter used what money he had to pay for his wife’s heart medicine to help keep her in stable condition, instead of fixing their home’s roof damaged in Hurricane Matthew.

Years ago, a church group had repaired half of it but never returned to finish the job, leaving the Carters with more problems than before. Despite the Carters being in tune with the local social services offered no one, until United Way 211, could give the help needed to finish the project and provide the shelter they needed.

Even after eight heart attacks of his own, Mr. Carter was only looking for a piece of metal to fix it himself. Unable to ask for a loan because they are not given for mobile home repairs, he was left with researching community resources. Solutions for him through the VA, Habitat for Humanity, and others all came up dry because of not qualifying for one reason or another.

This past June, Mr. Carter reached out to WTOC-TV to advertise exactly what he was searching for, piece of 17×17 tin. From there, he spoke with the late Craig Harney, who referred Mr. Carter to United Way 211. As the summer storms approached Mr. Carter voiced to Harney that he was worried he would not have enough buckets.

United Way 211 is a critical community service. It provides assistance connecting people with the resources they need including: finding shelter, access to food pantries, utility assistance, veteran’s services or dealing with a crisis. They are trained to solve problems and make a difference in the lives thousands of locals every year.

After calling 211, Mr. Carter received the roof he was looking for and much more. United Way 211 connected his needs with Senior Citizens, Inc. and the Coastal Empire Disaster Recovery Committee to qualify for a grant to cover the costs and labor of the roof repair, as well as a repaired entry ramp.

“Once I called United Way, it was all done 3-4 weeks later,” Mr. Carter said in a tone of humble gratitude. “Thank God for 211’s helping me, because nobody else would.”

Mr. Carter’s heart issues may slow his breath as you speak with him, but not slowing his spirit, “United Way in our community is important because everybody needs help at some time or another.”

Help is available through United Way 211 by dialing 211, or going online at uwce.org/211.

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