PORT CHARLOTTE — After a conversation with Brian Putnam, Merinda Gabr was compelled to help him.
Gabr, a sales and marketing manager at Vogel Roofing in Port Charlotte, spoke to her bosses, and now the company is planning to build a new roof on the home of the retired Charlotte County deputy battling cancer.
But help is needed from the community.
Cancer forced Putnam into retirement after 22 years of service with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office. He is battling stage 4 brain and bone cancer.
“I was diagnosed in 2020 and I kept working as long as I could,” Putnam said. “Finally, I had to ask the sheriff to take time off. I’m told I have about a five-year shelf life.”
He is receiving chemotherapy every few months — and his most recent cancer treatment cost $125,000.
Although he has medical insurance, it’s not enough. He chose to keep the medical insurance and cancel his homeowners coverage.
Then Hurricane Ian tore up his roof.
When Derek Levy and Gabr, sales managers at Vogel Roofing in Port Charlotte, heard about Putnam’s situation, they stepped forward to help.
“When Brian called for an estimate and explained his situation, I just felt a calling to help and refused to give up on him,” Gabr said. “Due to his financial situation, all the other roofing companies in the area dismissed him.”
Through the efforts of Vogel Roofing owners and some local donations of material, they are ready to start work on the roof, but more help is needed.
“We are trying to get donations to help cover the labor costs of his roof replacement as Brain’s medical treatments are exorbitant,” Gabr said. “Vogel Roofing is connecting with our suppliers to donate materials for this.”
Putnam and his wife, Susan, have lived in the home with their three children since 2003.
“I wasn’t in great shape financially when the hurricane hit … my wife and kids keep me going,” he said.
Gabr said she hopes Putnam will have one less thing to worry about after the roof is repaired.
“Our whole community suffered damages from (Hurricane) Ian,” she said. “If this can help ease a little stress, then we have succeeded in our goal. Hopefully Brian can focus more on his health. He’s done a lot for our community and it’s time we help him.”
Hannah Vogel said she wanted to help Putnam because both her grandparents battled cancer and she recalls how much it affected her family.
“Brian has done so much to make our community a better place. We worked with local companies to get materials and labor … people really wanted to help,” Vogel said.
Last year, Vogel Roofing donated a roof to a local veteran.
“We love giving back to the community …….