Volunteers to help 75-year-old Fremont man finish his roof

FREMONT, Calif. (KTVU) – When a 75-year-old man was spotted replacing his roof by himself, his neighbor stepped in to make sure others could help him finish the project in Fremont.

But for Richard Dubiel, no project has ever been too big.

“I like to have certain things done a certain way,” Dubiel said.

Slow and steady, Dubiel has been replacing the shingles on his Fremont house for the past three months. He said a company delivers the items, but he does all the work himself.

“Often times, people that you hire are out to do it as quickly and easily as they can without worrying about the quality put into it, and unfortunately that’s not my method,” he said.

Dubiel said parts of the old roof were starting to cave in and he wanted to make sure he was ready in case of heavy rains.

“Everyone said if you’re going to do it, you better do it quick because when El Nino comes you’re going to really need protection,” he added.

At age 75, Dubiel’s calloused hands and body could use a break.

“The worst part is on the knees,” he said. “It’s kind of uncomfortable.”

Luck for Dubiel, neighbor David Perez stepped in. Perez lives next door to Dubiel and posted a picture of Dubiel on Facebook, asking for help from people with roofing knowledge.

“He said, ‘I saw you up on the roof and said I didn’t think you should be doing that by yourself,’” Dubiel recalled.

The Facebook post was shared more than 1,000 times and received numerous comments from people asking for help.

Enough volunteers stepped forward that Dubiel said he was told the volunteers would help him finish his roof on Saturday morning.

“It restores your faith in humanity,” Dubiel said. “I’m just astounded. I couldn’t believe it when this fella knocked on my door and said he wanted to help for free. What a gesture.”

Dubiel, a retired Systems Test Engineer for Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, said he never thought about asking for help because he always found a way to make things work.

“Once I determine I’m going to do something I can usually do it one way or another,” he said.

Now it will be nice for the 75-year-old to relax when he shifts roles from roofer to supervisor on Saturday morning.