An elderly Carroll County woman's Christmas present came early - and instead of finding it under her tree, she had to look up to see it.
Irene Brown of Westminster is getting a new roof.
Workers from the Hampstead-based Brothers Services - in collaboration with three other local businesses and organizations - placed tarps on top of her house, covering her dilapidated roof until it receives new shingles this week.
The company had planned to start replacing the roof Thursday but was delayed by rain.
"I think it's wonderful, because I needed it done and I just didn't have the funds to do it," said Brown, 76.
For approximately 18 months, aged shingles have exposed the inside of Brown's house to the environment. Rain has made a hole through nearly a quarter of the ceiling in her bedroom, and insulation hangs down in her bedroom and bathroom. Numerous tubs, buckets and bins are stacked up, waiting to catch falling water.
"It's been rather difficult, but I've dealt with it," Brown said. "You put buckets around to catch the water and then you have to empty them. I just take it one day at a time."
With materials and labor for the roof donated by Brothers Services and Allied Building Products in Woodlawn, and help from Habitat for Humanity of Carroll County and Angels Quest of Finksburg, Brown's house will undergo repairs that she could not otherwise afford.
"If [the roof was] to remain the way it is for another year, she probably wouldn't be able to stay there anymore," said Judy Olson, founder and president of Angels Quest. "After that is done, we can get in there and replace her drywall and ventilation, and her bathroom needs repair. It just goes on and on with things the house needs."
After submitting an application to Habitat for Humanity, at least four organizations came to Brown's rescue.
"They're Christian people, this is just what they do," she said. "I'm glad that somebody out there decided to help."