Adam Randall spends his days toiling away above our heads building something we take for granted – and would be damned without.
He’s a roofer. He literally puts a roof over people’s heads.
It’s easy to grant him a small sense of nobility, as he works to ensure our peace of mind. But this time last year, Randall’s motivations were far from noble.
“For a long time I enjoyed roofing, but I was chasing the dollar,” he said. “I was drinking very heavily and that was my main goal, to make money. All the time I was drinking.”
Drinking led to drug use. It all came down on his head in the end. In May, he was charged with breaking into a gas station and will appear in court next month.
“It’s something I’m definitely not proud of, but it’s something I’ve done and now I can face it. I was really ashamed, you know. But now with me coming to terms with my addiction and everything, it’s like, ‘Well, it happened.’ I can deal with it. It’s something I have to talk about.”
Randall, who lives in Dartmouth, doesn’t shy away from what he did. He doesn’t even break eye-contact as he recalls the previous year.
“Right now, I’m sort of starting all over again. Five months ago, I didn’t have any money. I lost my truck. I lost my licence. I had nothing. So I quit drinking, quit smoking. Then I started to get a clear head. I felt good and enjoyed what I was doing on the roof.”
With his addictions at arm’s length, he’s now looking to lend a hand to those he know he can help. And with close to 10 years experience roofing, it’s the one thing he knows best.
Randall has started a non-profit, The Freeroofers Society, that can also be found on Facebook. Its goal is to help seniors on fixed incomes who can’t afford a new roof or can’t handle the task of fixing it themselves.
He got the idea when he fixed his parents’ roof and heard of others who didn’t have the luxury of a roofer for a son.
“Someone told me, ‘We’re on fixed income and we know the roof’s gonna go, but how are we going to afford the $5,000′?”
So he plans to build the roofs free of charge. And he’ll pass on what he knows to those who are willing, but untrained.
“It’s also to help people who want to, but don’t know how to roof. So I can come out and show them,” he says.
He’s set to start his own roofing company. It’ll allow him the freedom to do more for others.
“Not only will I be able to do it on my own, I can help other people out, too. I just want to make this my lifestyle and share a little more. I got all the money I used to flush away, and now I’m using it to make sure I’m in control of my own life.”
Turning things around
Randall’s goal is for the society to put up 20 roofs a year. He hopes there will be others to help him run it and that other businesses will want to take part. But it also marks a personal point of return.
“That’s where I want to go with this. Just turn things around. I want to get back to where I was, before I was on the harder side of drinking and drugs. I used to volunteer. I thought back to before everything and that was when I was truly happy. That’s where I want to get back to.”
Randall talks of roofs as a means to an end. Roofing started as a job he didn’t quit, but later became a livelihood. Now it’s a lifestyle. His favorite part?
“The before and after. When you can see the difference it makes. When it looks like new.”
About the author
Mikkel is finishing his Master of Journalism at the University of King's College. He's fond of watching films, and sometimes writes about them...