Aneurysms can often mean an end to your life, sometimes figuratively and sometimes literally.
However, Paul Lord, owner of LORD’S ROOFING, was not going to let a brain aneurysm stop him.
After he was diagnosed with the aneurysm in 1995, Lord underwent several surgeries. Over a two-year period between 1995 and 1997, he had three brain surgeries and two heart surgeries.
Lord said the last brain surgery was because a staph infection had developed in his brain and spinal column.
After that surgery, doctors told his wife Sue Lord that it was not likely he would survive.
But Lord did survive, and worked hard to learn how to walk and talk again.
Yet, doctors still told him that basically life as he had known it was over.
Lord, who had been in the construction field for over 30 years, was told it was time to pursue something else.
He began learning about construction trades in 1964, beginning a master’s program when he was still in high school. He was an apprentice for four years throughout high school, then continued his training under another mentor for four more years.
Lord also attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, graduating in 1971 with a bachelor of arts in trade and industry and a bachelor of science in education.
After graduating, he moved with his wife to Woodward, where he taught at the high school for five years while also starting a construction company.
In his last year of teaching, he made twice as much in construction as he did in teaching, so he decided to pursue construction full time.
In 1986, Lord decided to specialize in roofing after the oil bust and a major hail storm made roofers more necessary than home builders.
While teaching was more rewarding than construction in many areas, it was not financially rewarding enough, Lord said.
“I just couldn’t make a living at it,” he said.
Then, after almost 20 years of just working in construction, doctors told him he could not make a living in that profession anymore.
To a degree, Lord listened to his doctors. He began to further pursue his hobbies like photography and motorcycling.
Lord had also been involved with photography since studying it in high school – keeping it as a hobby.
But when his medical problems kept him from doing actual labor, he decided to pursue photography again.
“I used it as rehab until I could get back on my feet,” he said.
Then in 1997, he opened his own photography business known as Digital Dreams.
After he was able to get back on a motorcycle, Lord decided to open his own motorcycle business as well, which he did in 2005.
But Lord also stayed involved in the roofing business.
While he was in the hospital, he continued to do consultant work and continued to send out his crews.
And before he could fully return to work, Lord took advantage of the extra time he had to help change policies that would make roofing practices safer.
Because doing roofing overlays is cheaper than removing the bad roof and starting over, Lord said many insurance companies would recommend that roofing problems on buildings and homes be repaired with overlays. However, this meant some places like schools ended up with overlay after overlay, leading to multi-layer roofs that ranged from six to twelve inches thick, which is quite dangerous.
In addition to the danger of the roof collapsing from the added weight, Lord said the multiple layers could also create an environment to capture moisture, which could lead to dangerous algae and mold.
Therefore, Lord worked with the insurance commission and with the local code enforcement office to establish a policy that requires roofers to have a permit before they can work on a roof. He said since 1997, Woodward has become one of the few cities to have such a policy. Such a policy is important because it makes sure someone double checks that the work done is as safe as possible.
Lord said the policy protects people from themselves, because in an attempt to save money, people will sometimes do things that are unsafe.
That is why his company motto is “If you don’t know roofing, know your roofer.”
And by 1999, Lord was back on job sites doing hands-on work and trying to fulfill that motto.
He even includes his home number on his business card in order to be more available to his customers.
He added that most of his customers are friends.
“If not before I start, I hope we are when we finish,” he said.
Lord said he tries to provide that personal touch in his work, which includes making it a point to be involved with every job, especially on residential work.
“Because when you’re dealing with someone’s home, it’s a lot more personal,” he said.
He also said he believes in providing that personal touch because Woodward still has that small town atmosphere, so he knows he’s going to see his customers around town, whether it is at church or the grocery store.
He said he has worked in the community since the late 60s and over the years it has truly become his home.
And even though the commercial work which brings the big money is not necessarily in Woodward, Lord has never thought of leaving, because as he put it, “the people are here.”