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Sue Berry of Prestonville didn’t think she’d like plastic covering the windows of her trailer on Newcastle Pike.
A senior citizen whose health requires her to be on oxygen and take regular breathing treatments, Berry said she was afraid the plastic would obscure the view of her back yard. But after the first panel of plastic was installed on a living room window by volunteers Rita Westrick and Kuvungal Davy, she had a change of heart.
“I like the plastic,” she said, which was installed to rid her home of drafts this winter. “You can see right through it, like it’s not there.”
Draft-proofing the trailer was just one of the many tasks Project Comfort volunteers undertook on Blitz Day this past Saturday, Oct. 25.
In its third year, the program, originally called Project Warmer, has expanded from merely offering weatherization for senior homeowners, to help cut heating costs, said organizer Chris White, pastor at Carrollton’s First Baptist Church.
The projects have expanded to include hanging new Mrs. Butcher said trimming hedges that surround the tidy little house was what her husband, William, used to do.
But last year, she had to move him into a nursing home. So, when the shrubs started to get a bit high, she called the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission’s Crisis Center on Seventh Street and asked for help. They passed her information to the Project Comfort program.
“I can’t get out and do like I used to,” Mrs. Butcher said, adding that Project Comfort is a great program. “It’s a blessing.”
Prior to sending the volunteers out to their projects, White asked that only people trained in the work attempt the plumbing and electrical projects. “We want to make sure if we do plumbing, we do it once, so you’ve got to know what you’re doing,” he said.
This year, the program has teamed up with the CAC, which not only helped find people in need of its services – the two also will work together to apply for grants that can help more senior homeowners with bigger repairs.
The program also is expanding beyond what volunteers can do in one day, White said. There are too many homes to do in one day, and too much work.
“What we hope to do is help them maintain their homes year round,” he said.
White said much of the funding needed for Blitz Day was provided by the Community Advisory Panel headed by Dow Corning and Arkema, which contributed $3,000. He said he was expecting another $1,500. The money buys all the supplies the volunteers need.
In the weeks leading up to Blitz Day, auditors visit houses nominated for the program. The audits of approved homes are passed along to Roy Calvert, who does all the purchasing and puts the kits together that correspond with the needs of each project.
“I’m the gopher,” Calvert said, laughing.
There were some unsuspecting participants, volunteering to work early on a bright Saturday morning came as a bit of a surprise.
Vickie Kemper, CAC’s community services supervisor, brought her son, Dylan, and three of his friends – Eric Quire, Josh Quire and Arin Williams – to help with projects at 314 Grobmyer.
“They all spent the night at my house, and I told them they were gonna do this,” Kemper said.
“I didn’t know [about the project] until late last night,” Arin Williams said.