When Darcy Hochstrasser lost her job at the same time her home’s roof was in desperate need of replacement, a generous local roofer repaired it for her for free. Now, nearly 10 years later, she’s paying his generosity forward.

Hochstrasser had been working the lines in a Heinz factory when a hand injury put her on the sidelines. She struggled to get medical clearance to return to work and ultimately Heinz, which would later close its Pocatello plant permanently in 2013, had to let her go, she said.

The crumbling roof of her home served as a metaphor for her circumstances at the time. But Brett Hochhalter, a well-known roofer and former local mailman, swooped in to help.

“All my shingles were blowing off my roof,” she said. “(Brett) came and did my roof for me at a time when I wouldn’t have had any other way to do it.”

Hochstrasser called Hochhalter last year to tell him she’s in a better place financially now, working as office manager at Aspen Dental, and she’d like to help him by covering the cost of someone else’s roof repair.

Hochhalter for the past decade has been repairing at least one roof a year in the community at no cost to the homeowners, who don’t have enough money to pay for what is often a direly needed repair. The money typically comes out of the pocket of his company, M&M Contracting.

When Hochhalter got Hochstrasser’s call that she wanted to contribute to his next job, he was surprised, he said — in fact, his initial reaction according to Hochstrasser was, “Seriously?”

“I was like, ‘Yes, I’m serious,’” Hochstrasser said, “because I know how much it helped me when I needed it.”

Hochhalter’s work has been challenged by the coronavirus pandemic during the past year, but he has a list of families in need, who are sometimes referred to him by NeighborWorks, an organization that helps people find and take advantage of a variety of services.

His company started the project Hochstrasser will be paying for — a full roof replacement totaling just over $6,000 — on Tuesday.

“I’m glad Darcy’s doing this because this is one of those things you don’t see that often,” Hochhalter said. “When she said she’d love to do it, I said, ‘Yeah, sounds good to me.’ I mean, because if that’s what she feels like she needs to do in her heart and soul, let’s get ‘er done.”

Hochstrasser said she’s grateful to be in a position now to pay forward the kindness that was shown to her nearly a decade ago.

“I feel like we’re all going to have a time in our life when we can use that type of help, and for me, it came when it was needed,” she said. “So now, to be able to do that for somebody else, I think it sends an important message that it takes a whole village if we all want to make it through. I am just happy to be able to be part of it.”