Living alone can be difficult at any age, but it’s especially challenging for the elderly. A senior woman from Woburn, Massachusetts, named Gloria knows this dilemma all too well. Since 1969, she’s lived in her house on Lillian Street with only her dog Choo Choo keeping her company.
Earlier this month, sparks suddenly started shooting out of her light fixture at home. The power went out, leaving Gloria with only one option – calling for help.
She went to a neighbor for assistance, and she was referred to electrician John McKinney of Kinney Electric.
Due to the nature of their jobs, electricians are accustomed to entering people’s houses and observing the state of their residences. However, nothing could have prepared John for what he was about to see in Gloria’s home.
“When I arrived at her house, I discovered that the electrical was in very bad shape,” the electrician wrote on Facebook. “Half her lights were out, she had no stove, and her refrigerator was plugged into an extension cord. I fixed her immediate electrical hazards and got her lights and air conditioning on.”
But when all the lights came on, it became clear to John that it wasn’t only the electrical that needed fixing.
The house was literally falling apart. Its exterior had chipped paint, and gutters were falling off the roof. Inside, the house was dirty. She had a broken kitchen sink and dangerously low ceilings that looked like they’re about to collapse anytime. Junk, debris, and overgrown vegetation filled her yard.
Gloria later admitted to John that the house had frequent plumbing issues, and that “critters” would often get inside her home. She also had very little money and no family, which meant she didn’t have anyone to call for help, even if she needed it.
While the kind electrician had dealt with the home’s electrical issues, he couldn’t bear the thought of letting this nice elderly woman live one more day in such poor conditions. So, he came up with a plan.
John contacted his network of contractors and colleagues to see if anyone would lend their expertise to help fix Gloria’s house. Luckily, he gathered enough volunteers who came back with him to the house to do a ton of cleaning and yard work.
Everyone did a great job, and Gloria couldn’t be more thankful.
However, John knew it wasn’t just enough. There were still plenty of things that needed fixing in the home.
“She has some serious plumbing issues that need to be corrected. There is extensive drywall repair to be done. A massive amount of painting. Her front porch brick steps are an accident waiting to happen,” John added.
John already had a team of professionals willing to lend their services. All he needed was the money to buy the materials. So, on August 16, John launched a fundraiser on Facebook. He set the goal at $75,000, but it had already collected over $63,000 just two weeks later.
“We knew she needed help, it was apparent,” John’s brother, Dan, said. “But she’s so kindhearted and good-natured that she wouldn’t ever want to impose on anybody to ask for it.”
The next weekend, a group of volunteers, including plumbers, landscapers, and carpenters, showed up at Gloria’s home, ready to work!
They cleared out the overgrown trees from her yard and rebuilt her broken front porch. The Kinney brothers also equipped the home with a brand new electrical system.
A few local restaurants that heard about the project sent food and drinks for the volunteers. Gloria herself also prepared delicious food for them. Her neighbors also donated cash for materials and sent her and Choo Choo some gifts. There has been an outpouring of support ever since John started this project, and Gloria couldn’t be more thankful for all that the volunteers have done.
“I couldn’t possibly afford to pay for this kind of help,” Gloria told WHDH. “I am so grateful that you can’t imagine.”
Encouraged by the Woburn community’s support and how it impacted Gloria, the kindhearted electrician decided to continue doing this for other people like her. He started a Facebook group called Gloria’s Gladiators, “a group of professional tradesmen and volunteers that can be called upon to help out any elderly person in need.” We’re so excited to see what their next project would be!
It’s so inspiring to see a community of people coming together for one great cause. Kudos to Kinney Electric and the volunteers for doing such fantastic work! Watch the community in action below.
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