Local builder helping veteran close to losing homeowners insurance

FREEPORT, Mich. — When Virlin Goforth`s insurance company told him he needed a new roof and siding or else they’d drop his coverage, the 87-year-old Army and Navy veteran said it caught him off guard. His granddaughter, Janet Lubben, said she couldn’t believe it.

“He’s had this house for 50-something years, always had insurance on it. It’s pretty important to him,” Lubben said.

She added, “It’s a huge deal mainly because he’s really old-fashioned, and he heats his house with wood. So if there were to ever be an incident, then we would have nothing to fall back on. He would lose everything.”

The family agrees the siding and roofing needs to be redone, however, they feel the insurance company overstepped it bounds in the assessment on their garden.

Goforth said, “A lot of veterans are in worse shape than even I am, and you work your whole life to accomplish a little bit, own your own property, your own house, and then you have somebody giving you short change. It’s not right.’

So Lubben and her husband Randy, who are also veterans, shared Goforth’s story on social media. Initially, the post was just for crowdfunding to cover the repairs. But Lubben said it didn’t take long for Elease Nichole Construction to step up and pay it forward. Company owner Brandon Koehn said he’s just repaying the favor after the community helped him when his daughter needed a liver transplant.

Koehn said, “I just want our community… if we only did this once or twice a year for people that are around us it makes it better for everybody everywhere.”

“It just brings everybody together… It’s the right thing to do, and it feels really good on your heart,” he added.

He said Seppala Builders is also helping in the project.

Goforth said, “I think it’s a good thing. Not because I’m a veteran, but it’s a good positive for everybody.’

They’re offering to redo the roof and siding for free and a number of volunteers have also stepped up to clean up around the property.

Lubben said, “It’s amazing. We would never be able to afford to put a new roof on, new shingles and everything we need done — pay for the labor, the roof and everything by ourselves.”

While the labor is being provided for, the family set up a GoFundMe account that go toward paying for materials. Work is expected to start next week.

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