Kremmling roofers pitch in on war effort |

Kremmling roofers pitch in on war effort

KREMMLING – Shawn Moats builds roofs, and in a strange twist of fate, his company will be helping American military forces in the war in Iraq.

Moats, part-owner of Kremmling-based Shawn Moats Roofing Inc., and his employees will travel to Diego Garcia, an island in the Indian Ocean, to replace antiquated siding and roof materials in an effort to better protect the stealth bombers and other aircraft based there.

Although he and his crew aren’t scheduled to depart until Aug. 12, Moats speculated the U.S. military still will be heavily involved in the area when they get there.

“With the nature of the location and the strategic bombing coming out of there, the Navy put the time crunch on this,” Moats said March 26. “They couldn’t process the contracts fast enough, and the conflict was launched ahead of our arrival. Unfortunately, I don’t think this will be over before we get there.”

Six of Moats’ 15 employees will be stationed on the island in a rotating schedule for about four months. The company has completed similar jobs for military bases, and the roofers have worked around the country and world.

Moats said he fell into the “sensitive” work by accident. A manufacturer of metal roofing materials knew that Moats maintained a felony-free crew – important for military organizations worried about security.

Moats, who worked in law enforcement for 11 years before getting back into the family trade, said the clean background of his employees just “sort of happened.”

“The people I got involved in the business with were all related to the law enforcement angle in some way, so it just happened that way,” Moats said. “Once we started getting this work, then we just made it a priority to keep it that way – all the way down to the office people and accounting.”

Moats’ crew includes co-owners Doug Bowlan, a Silverthorne resident, and Park County’s Ethan Dondero.

Bowlan could not be reached for comment – he’s stuck in Singapore at the moment after doing some advance planning work for the trip.

Most of the employees, including Moats, have wives and children or serious girlfriends. Moats said the families are concerned about the men heading off for dangerous work. The group will travel to their destination through the Philippines, and there is some concern about threats of terrorism, he said.

Another problem is that there’s no trauma center on Diego Garcia. But for jobs in remote places like this, Moats brings along a certified paramedic. Many of the other employees are former military service and law enforcement members, and most are experienced travelers, too, he said.

The only other difficulty is insurance.

“It’s kind of hard to get that when you’re working over a $2 billion aircraft, you know,” Moats said.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or

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