Strangers Respond To Facebook Post Seeking Help For Elderly Neighbor Trying To Repair Home

Richard Dubiel's roof, it turns out, wasn't the only thing in need of repair. His faith in humanity had some holes it in, too.

"I had become pretty discouraged," the 75-year-old Fremont resident said, "by what people do to each other that's not good."

But by noon on Saturday both Richard's roof, and his faith, had been restored thanks to the concern of one neighbor and the hard work of twenty strangers. "I'm just in awe," Richard said.

Fremont resident David Perez felt sorry for his 75-year-old neighbor, Richard Dubiel, who was trying to re-roof his home all by himself.

The neighbor behind it all, David Perez, lives two doors down from Richard on Murphy Court. From David's living room window, he has a view of Richard's home and, of most concern lately, Richard's roof.

"It was hard to watch," David said. What David says was tough to watch was his elderly neighbor over the past few months attempting to re-roof his home all by himself.


"I was feeling sorry for someone that age up there all by himself."

David would have climbed the ladder to help, but admits he knows next-to-nothing about roofing. He does know a little bit about social media, though.

Not having any roofing skills himself, David took a picture of his neighbor on his roof and posted it to Facebook, asking anyone with roofing experience if they would like to help Richard finish his roof.

David snapped a picture of Richard working on his roof and posted it to Facebook with a particular request to anyone with roofing skills: "I would like to see if anyone can donate their time to help him finish." David suggested people come by Saturday morning to start work.

Though David, at the time, had barely 100 Facebook friends, his post quickly spread beyond his circle. By Saturday morning, it has been shared more than 1,000 times. A few posted comments saying they were planning on coming. Still, David was worried when he went to bed Friday night that people would not show up at his suggested start time of 9 a.m.

He was right to be worried. They didn't show up at 9. They showed up earlier.

David's Facebook post was shared more than 1,000 times and more than twenty volunteers, many of them professional roofers, showed up at Richard's home one morning to finish the job.

"I woke up and looked out my window at 7:30 and there were already people on the roof," David said.

By mid-morning, roughly twenty people, most with roofing experience, were working on Richard's roof.

Bob Valdez, a roofer with 18 years experience, came all the way from Tracy with his young son to help. "My father taught me that it's important to help others, and I want my son to see that."

Other volunteers came from San Jose, Livermore and San Mateo. Almost none of them knew David or Richard before Saturday.

Richard Dubiel says his faith in humanity was restored by the crew of strangers who finished his roof for free.

With so many hands working, Richard's roof was completed a little after noon. The volunteers called Richard over to nail in the final shingle.

"I just can't thank you all, enough," Richard said, moments after using a nail gun to complete the job.

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