INDEPENDENCE, W.Va. (WBOY) — For the past three years, Titan Roofing has been giving away new roofs to veterans across north central West Virginia that need assistance. On Tuesday, a veteran born and raised in Independence was the lucky winner.

For this giveaway, people were given the chance to submit nominations of veterans in their communities that they felt were deserving of a free roof.

“They were nominated earlier in the year, and we took about 200 entries,” stated James Sanders, the owner of Titan Roofing. “And we got it down to the top 10. We really couldn’t just single out just one, so we gave it to three different veterans.”

The first two veteran winners were located in Buckhannon and Clarksburg, respectively while the third winner was located in Preston County. Scott Cress, a U.S. Air Force Veteran resides in Independence, where he has spent most of his life.

“I was born and raised about a half a mile from here,” Cress said. “I’ve been here all my life–except for my stint with the Air Force, and a little bit of time I went to culinary school in Colorado.”

Much of Cress’ family was involved in the military, which inspired his own involvement. “My family has a little bit of history with the Armed Forces, and I felt that it was my chance to give back to the you know, the country and do what I could to carry that on,” he said. His father served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, and his son also went on to join the Air Force later down the line.

When Titan Roofing first began working on Cress’ roof, he was away at work. “So when he comes home, he’s gonna have a brand new roof on his house, which is awesome,” Sanders said. When sorting through the entries for this year’s giveaway, Sanders found that he was particularly moved by the Independence native’s story.

“They had a tragedy within their family here recently, and just a great backstory and a great guy,” Sanders added. “And it was awesome to get to meet him, and he definitely had the need for a roof.”

Cress began building his home himself back in 1996 and has had help from many members of his family over the years to bring the project to completion including his father, father-in-law, brother-in-law and even his mother-in-law.

“My family was really instrumental in getting this all done,” Cress said. He said that his family’s contributions helped to get the foundation and the shell of the house completed. However, a death in the family put the project on pause, and Cress was unable to get around to installing a roof on the home.

“Several years ago, my wife was—had been in the hospital with a brain tumor and unfortunately, about a year and a half ago, she passed away,” said Cress. “We had been working to get a new roof, you know, working on that, with her being sick and me staying at home and working to take care of her, I just didn’t get to it. So, this couldn’t have come at a more great time.”

Cress said that being selected as a recipient of the free roof was amazing to him. “I’ve just—I’ve never won anything in my life,” he said. He said that one day, he received a call from Titan Roofing “out of the blue” to let him know about the roof. “It just was such a blessing to, you know, work with these guys and hear from them and just be with them,” he said.

According to Sanders, the new roof is supposed to be about 18 square (1,800 square feet) in total. All of the supplies for the new addition were covered by donations from ABC Supply Co Inc. and GAF Roofing, who Titan Roofing partners with each year to make this giveaway possible.

Titan Roofing annually covers the cost of the labor needed in order to build these roofs. Last year, the company provided two free roofs to veterans, which is how many they provided the year before as well.

“It’s such a blessing to have partners like ABC and GAF,” said Sanders. “So, these veterans, you know, they literally risked their lives for our freedom and stuff. And it’s just quite fitting that you know, this is happening right after Veterans Day. It wasn’t planned like that, but these guys and girls–they give their lives, risk their lives for our freedom and so, what’s a roof to give back to them? It’s just a great blessing.”

Sanders said that Cress’ new roof costs a total of about $15,000 to $17,000 between building supplies and labor costs. In total, all three roofs that were given away this year cost a grand total of around $70,000.

The construction of Cress’ roof began early in the morning around 10 a.m., and the roof was expected to be completed by 5 p.m. of the same day.