People magazine features Women Roofers

Jan. 19, 2013 @ 05:05 AM

The 46.6 million subscribers of People magazine are learning what Rutherford Countians have known a long time — the Women Roofers are hometown heroes.

People magazine’s editors featured the Women Roofers in this week’s edition on the Hometown Heroes page.

But it’s not the national recognition by  People magazine or CBS Evening News — where they were featured in late summer —that this group of volunteers want people to remember most. 

“It’s nice to get the attention for what we do,” said roofer Nell Bovender, who also serves as Executive Director of Rutherford Housing Partnership.  Bovender said there will always be a need for volunteers to work in their communities. The work will never end.

Bovender said the roofers, “are a little overwhelmed at all the attention. We do something we enjoy and we do it to help people, but to have that recognition by People and CBS across the country is really overwhelming.”

 On Veterans Day the magazine flew a photographer from Miami to Rutherford County where he spent four hours on a roof with a core of the women roofers.

“The whole adventure of being up on the roof, dressed to work and doing that in front of a photographer for four hours, it was surreal. That’s what we kept saying, so surreal,” Bovender said.

The photo shoot in November took place at a house off Bethany Church Road. “All around us, people were riding down the road, blowing the horn,” Bovender said. She said the idea the Women Roofers were “modeling” for an actual photo shoot, “felt very strange, but we had a wonderful time.”  

Bovender said after the piece aired on CBS Evening News with Byron Pitts in late summer, they received calls from several people asking how they could help or how they could start similar projects in their states. 

“It was very rewarding to share our expertise with others,” she said.

One woman from Richmond, Va., plans to come to Rutherford County to roof in the future. 

“We probably have gotten $1,000 in donations from peoplea fter the CBS story,” she said.

Bovender said since People  magazine

See Heroes/Page A6

will probably lay around in doctors’ and dentists’ offices for months, “hopefully people might pick it up and read it and want to help. Our website address is in there so maybe we can make a little money, which is always what we try to do,” she said.

The roofers are all volunteers and money raised helps buy roofing materials.

The Women Roofers not only roof all of the Habitat for Humanity houses in Rutherford County, they also roof houses for Rutherford Housing Partnership, and work on other RHP projects.

There are 150 people requesting help from RHP this year. “Not all of that (work) is roofs,” Bovender said. “But we’re really hoping we can engage some additional volunteer teams, who are willing to put the kind of energy the women have put into roofing.

“We’re hoping to get some youth groupsto help us,” she said.

  About twice a year youth groups from other parts of the country come to Rutherford County to assist with the RHP projects.

Many churches also participate in Operation InAsMuch, projects.

“God really has done some amazing things,” Bovender said.