PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Anna Jean Hembrees has lived in Panama City her whole life; everyone that knows her says the same thing.
“She has a sparkling personality,” said Paul McComack, the pastor of her church, Trinity Lutheran of Panama City.
“Anna Jean has basically given her entire career to helping people,” said Wesley Turner, a roofing contractor who met Hembrees through another client.
Although slightly biased, Hembrees’s son, Jonathan Arndt, agrees.
“I’m a mama’s boy,” said Arndt. “She is the best mom I could’ve ever asked for.”
Anna Jean has been living with her son and his wife since Hurricane Michael ravaged her home. Her roof was destroyed, and Arndt’s attempts to fix it have been less than successful.
“With the heat, my size, and the holes in the roof it didn’t work out well,” he said, chuckling.
As the saying goes, what goes around comes around, and some volunteers decided it was Anna Jean’s turn to get back the love she’s given to so many.
On Thursday, she was given the gift of a brand new roof.
“My head is just about to explode,” she said.
“She was just in a position where she needed some help and we’re happy to help,” said Turner, who is the area manager of Tadlock Roofing in Panama City.
Along with Tadlock, companies like A.B.C. Supply provided all of the materials and volunteers from a sister Trinity Lutheran church in Tyler, Texas came all the way to Panama City install it.
All of this, so Anna Jean can call her house a home again.
“To see that happen, for me, is almost indescribable,” she said.
“I know she deserves this, everybody that knows her knows she deserves this,” said Arndt. “The gratitude is beyond anything that we can express.”
The day served as a reminder that holding on to hope is just as important as holding on to the ones we love; even if it means having your mom over for months.
“I have a hunch my son and his wife will be happy to help me get settled too,” said Hembrees, laughing.
“Anybody will tell you it’s a challenge no matter how much you love each other,” said Arndt. “But it’s time we needed together and I’ll cherish it forever.”