The Texas Legends are known for many things. Of course, the basketball team and the famous electricity of home games at the Comerica Center. The fan service, immersive experience and memorable moments pile up for more than a decade in the making.
But perhaps one of the most notorious events during the Legends season is the highly anticipated car giveaway during the final home game. This season, the Legends decided to shake things up and add shelter to transportation.
One lucky fan will receive a brand new roof from Jeff Riss’s Peak Roofing & Construction company. In these unprecedented times, that announcement won’t come at a game, but is still coming all the same.
Commemorating the 10th Legends season, team President and General Manager Malcolm Farmer aimed to shake things up.
“Jeff Riss and Peak Roofing have been partners of ours for 10 years and talking to them leading into our 10th season, we wanted to do something that was truly unique and different,” Farmer said. “Jeff has seen us give away the car and that’s an incredible opportunity and incredible moment. We talked about the possibility of giving away a roof to somebody who couldn’t otherwise pay for it, couldn’t otherwise get a new roof, and could be sitting there with a real issue.”
Farmer says Riss submitted the proposal to the team and it was an instant hit.
“Jeff, and kudos to him, it was his vision and his idea and we just thought this was a great way to partner up for our fan base.”
Riss and his Frisco-based company have worked with the Legends since the team’s inception in 2010.
“I’ve been wanting to find a creative, new way to team up with the Legends for a while and we came up with an idea of something that is unique in our area and related to construction and giving back to the community,” Riss said.
Roofing has never been more critical in the metroplex as Dallas-Ft. Worth has seen storms in great numbers and size in the last several years.
“On average, in the last few years, we’ve had 200 to 300 thousand homes get hit by hail and wind and tornadic events,” Riss said. “The weather is a big factor and there’s a lot of people out there that can’t afford homeowner’s insurance. We get a lot of people who have leaks in their homes and they just ignore it because they can’t afford it or don’t have insurance.”
A contest was formed and over 1,300 names were submitted to the Legends and Peak Roofing. Out of many deserving candidates, Riss picked the winner.
“We teamed up with our distributors and manufacturers and they decided to donate the materials,” he said. “We’re going to donate the time as a company. Everybody in the company is going to go over there sometime in the next few months, tear her old roof off, and put up a brand spankin’ new one with a 10-year warranty on it.”
In a twist of fate, the winner, chosen months ago in what seems like a different world because of the coronavirus pandemic, is a healthcare professional.
“It’s amazing to give back to someone who’s been on the frontlines of these kinds of health scares in the past,” Farmer said.
Riss says the selection was a happy coincidence. “We went through them and chose a lady who is actually a director of nursing right now for home health, which all just kind of came together with the COVID-19 story.”
70-year old Jan Mills was nominated by her son, Jason Claussen, who describes his mother as “upbeat” and says she refuses to retire from healthcare.
“She’s helped so many people,” Claussen said. “Right now she’s the director of nurses and won’t quit working. All she does is go to work, come home, and stay out of people’s way so she doesn’t get them sick. She just helps a lot of people in her life.”
Pandemic or not, Riss says Mills’s devotion to public service made her an ideal candidate.
Farmer also adds that hand-picking the winner distinguished the roof contest from the car giveaway because it wasn’t random.
“A car giveaway, any fan can win it. This is a charitable component. This is, ‘hey we’re going to go through the nominations, we’re going to pick somebody, and they’re going to win a roof.’ They’re going to have a roof literally put back over their head.”
Despite being located about an hour away from Frisco in Balch Springs, Claussen says he and his mother discovered the Legends five years ago and have been going to games since.
“Once we started going to games,” he says, “we tried to catch as many as we could.”
Claussen talks admirably of his mother, praising her optimistic, glass half full spirit in times like these.
“As many people as she has helped, and the problems she has encountered helping them, it’s amazing she’s not more cynical. She still has a great opinion of people and tries to help everyone out the best she can.”
Riss and his team are on standby to deliver Mills her prize and get to work on her, as he put it, “brand spankin” new roof.
Farmer looks forward to the project’s completion and says the venture reflects the very best in the Legends organization as well as the community.
“I think it’s a really cool story showing how our community, when we work together, can do so much more than when we all just go our separate ways. It’s what the Legends are all about.”