When Wanda Horner’s roof was damaged during Hurricane Irma, she didn’t know what to do. She had no insurance to pay for it, and as a widow, could not afford to pay for it out of pocket. She explained someone came by and put a blue roof on it, but that actually caused more leaks, and when they put the tarp on, she had to sign a waiver releasing them from liability. She was at her wits’ end.
Meanwhile, Osiel Luviano, owner of Luviano Roofing, was getting calls from people in town who were concerned about Mrs. Horner’s plight. Mr. Luviano is an Okeechobee native. He graduated from Okeechobee High School and went to college at the University of Florida but then returned to his hometown to start his roofing company in 2006. Mr. Luviano cares a lot about his community, he explained. “This is a small town, and I believe we should help each other,” he said. He thinks it is important to give back, and he has put roofs on homes for people who needed help four times in the past. He especially has a heart for widows, he said. When people called about Mrs. Horner, he felt bad he couldn’t get to her sooner, but they have been so busy since the hurricane. He finally had time to get a crew to her home this week, and brought 10 people over to her house on Friday, May 24, to get started on a beautiful new metal roof he says will last her 25 years. They had to replace a lot of wood, and he said W&W Lumber donated all of the plywood for the job, and the City of Okeechobee waived the permit fee when they discovered the job was being done free of charge.
The Luviano Roofing Co.gives scholarships to seniors at the high school every year, and this year they were able to give out 16, he said.
Mrs. Horner is so excited about her new roof. She said she told her sister this year she will feel safe staying home if there is a hurricane. She said Mr. Luviano is truly an angel. “Everybody I talk to says he is the best,” she said.