Team Basement Systems Helps Restore Hurricane-Damaged Shiloh Baptist Church in Bridgeport, CT

As supporter of a local scholarship program, Larry Janesky, owner and founder of Basement Systems, Inc., was actively looking for possible recipients when he was referred to Rev. Carl McCluster, the senior pastor at ShilohBaptistChurch, for help with finding applicants.

During his meeting with the pastor, Larry had the opportunity to walk around the church and noticed that the roof of the building was badly damaged. He asked Rev. McCluster what had caused all the damage and the pastor explained that half of the roof was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012.

That devastating storm not only damaged the roof of the ShilohBaptistChurch, but also flooded the basement with 5 to 6 feet of sewage water, completely ruining the day care center, the community room and the kitchen, which were all located in the flooded area.

The building suffered $125,000 worth of damages, but the insurance company would only cover $25,000, leaving the congregation to pay for the bulk of the repairs. ShilohBaptistChurch operates on a tight budget, spent mostly on programs to help the local community. For that reason, since the fall of 2012, they have been struggling to obtain both funds and professional work to get the building properly restored.

Members of the congregation had helped with cleaning up and patching some shingles on the roof, but while they did their best, there weren’t any real tradesmen in the congregation to professionally install a much needed brand new roof for the Bridgeport church.

When Larry learned this, he realized that this small, but caring congregation had suffered long enough. After almost 2 years of dealing with water leaking through the roof every time it rained, they couldn’t be made to suffer through it any longer, so Larry decided to step in and help out.

Most importantly, he decided to do it right away. Larry knew he had some employees and some good, skilled friends in the vicinity that would be ready to volunteer for a project like this.

Larry and his team at Basement Systems were all very busy at the time of renovations, as they had also been preparing for the company’s annual convention – a national 3-day event that would bring 1,200 people from all over the U.S. and Canada to the state.

Yet, even pressed by time, many employees volunteered and many of Larry’s friends stepped in to provide their services. There were approximately 100 people involved in the project, arriving in rotating shifts. “I am so proud of my employees, friends and family”, says Larry. “They didn’t ask me why. They asked when. And that was awesome!”

The roof was the biggest challenge. There were two layers of asphalt shingles to be taken off and while Larry and his team were well prepared to take on the project on their own, Klaus Larsen from Klaus Larsen Roofing answered and took over that part of the project bringing in highly skilled volunteers. Bartlett Contractors also pitched in sending professionals in their network to tackle the project.

Besides the roof, many other repairs were performed both inside and outside the building – which also received brand new interior and exterior painting jobs. Even the church’s new van received new lettering!

The church’s exterior is now painted in beautiful light blue shades and white trims, and a cross of white shingles designed on the brand new roof now gleams under the sun, and can be seen by the passengers from the train cars that run next to the church, and by the people coming and going through the Long Island ferry, just across the street.

Larry and the team at Basement Systems would like to thank the entire ShilohBaptistChurch congregation for the warm welcome, the prayers, the help and the opportunity to give something back to the community. We also would like to thank all of our volunteers, with special thanks to Dr. Energy Saver of CT, Klaus Larsen Roofing, Bartlett Contractors, and CT Electrical Services, ABC Supply & Co. for all their help and support. 

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