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Electric co-op volunteers help Project Mend-A-House repair Woodbridge homes and donate $15,000

On Volunteer Day, teams of co-op volunteers replaced the skirting on five mobile homes. They replaced doors and rotted wood. They caulked around windows, doors, and other openings to seal air leaks. And they made the homes safer for the elderly and low-income homeowners by rebuilding decks and stairs.  

Cindy Fithian, NOVEC HELPS executive director, said, “We moved into the mobile home park like an army on a mission. Every volunteer -- including Stan Feuerberg, our president and CEO, vice presidents, engineers, administrators, meter readers, accountants, and line techs -- worked side-by-side.”

Ann Maria Laurenza, NRECA’s Insurance and Financial Services iCARE chair, agreed with Fithian and said, “NRECA staff trooped on site with tools and an abundance of enthusiasm to help achieve an ambitious single-day mission. Workers shared the spirit of cooperation as well as problem-solving skills.”

After seeing the home assigned to his team was “a challenge,” Bernie Cleveland, a HELPS board member, crawled under the home to apply heat tape to water pipes to keep them from freezing. He patched a hole in the home’s floor to keep summer heat and winter cold air -- and wildlife -- from entering.

Cleveland said, “To me, volunteering isn’t about what you do; it’s what you feel in your heart when you see how appreciative people are to have assistance. I look at it this way -- I may be the next one who needs some help. If everyone looked out for their neighbor, the world would be a better place. We’re supposed to ‘give back’ -- that’s the way I was brought up.”

Lori Kalaydjian, NOVEC’s facilities department manager, showed her team’s volunteers how to operate power tools. After learning the homeowner would have surgery the following day, Kalaydjian said, “Our team had extra motivation to make her deck, steps, and gate safe and secure.” 

“It was inspiring to witness the collective determination of the group to deliver nothing less than quality repairs and safety improvements, in hopes of making life just a little bit easier for those struggling with bigger challenges,” Laurenza said.

Feuerberg said, “Many organizations talk about corporate citizenship, but for us – it’s the way we do business. We invest in our communities. NOVEC and NOVEC HELPS support charitable, health, and educational organizations in the communities we serve. By joining forces with NRECA employees, we accomplished a lot in a day!”

Jennifer Schock-Bolles, PMAH executive director, thanked the volunteers and said, “The energy, safety, and home repairs the co-op volunteers made will greatly improve the lives of the five homeowners helped on Oct. 3. Project Mend-A-House could not have done this without the generosity of NOVEC, NOVEC HELPS, and NRECA.”


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