After a tree branch crashed through his roof in June, a Peachland man has been collecting raindrops in buckets on the floor of his home.
Paul Witfield, 67, was unable to fix the roof of his home in Antlers Beach Estates because of his health and age, and has little money to spare, according to his lifelong friend Michael Batt. Witfield worked 45 to 50 years as a painter, and after so many years as a tradesman, it wears on the body, Batt said.
Batt set up a GoFundMe in July to raise funds to repair some of the damage.
“It came right through the living room roof, (crushed a stereo cabinet), and the really good thing was (it didn’t go through the bedroom roof), if it was Paul’s bedroom he could have been killed,” Batt said. “It seemed the damage was done to the roof, the ceiling, the furniture wrecked, the carpet was wrecked… He does own his unit but after he pays his pad and his utilities, he’s broke. He has a little money for gas and food and that’s that.”
There’s a tarp covering the large whole Witfield has been unable to fix, but Batt said it hasn’t stopped the water.
The pair have been friends for a long time.
Batt even shared his home in Peachland with Witfield after Batt lost his wife to cancer, and Whitfield helped out around the house as Batt raised his two daughters on his own.
“We go back to the glory days when we were both living in Vancouver,” Batt said.
As of Saturday, Aug. 11, the fundraiser had reached the halfway mark.
“That’s a wonderful feeling,” Batt said.
After the windstorm, Witfield was also put on evacuation alert due to the Mount Eneas wildfire.
“For the last few months he’s been living with no TV, no stereo – the good thing is he’s an avid reader,” Batt said.
The money will go towards the roof repair and replace the insulation, vapour barrier and ceiling as well as to install a new carpet.