Massachusetts electrician rallies community to rebuild 72-year-old woman’s run-down home
A Massachusetts electrician is being praised after he rallied his community to rebuild a 72-year-old woman’s home that was in desperate need of repair.
John Kinney was fixing a damaged light fixture at Gloria Scott’s Woburn residence recently when he noticed how dilapidated and run-down her home was, according to CNN.
“There was extensive plumbing damage, there was holes in the ceiling, raccoons were getting in,” he recalled to the outlet, adding how Scott, 72, also didn’t have running water and her kitchen sink was broken and leaking.
After completing the job, Kinney went home — but he kept thinking about Scott, and how she disclosed that she lived alone and couldn’t afford repairs.
“I knew she needed help and I knew she wasn’t going to ask for it,” Kinney told the outlet.
So the electrician decided to take action — first, by working on Scott’s home by himself for free, before getting some friends and volunteers involved.
After doing lots of yard work and cleaning things up, Kinney decided to create a Facebook fundraiser.
In just a few hours, the fundraiser received more than $3,500. Today, over a month since they began the project, more than $105,000 has been raised to help Kinney pay for materials.
“The project kept growing and support kept pouring in,” he told CNN, adding that local restaurants have even donated meals to the skilled professionals and volunteers, who have been dubbed “Gloria’s Gladiators.”
To date, the Gladiators have installed a new electrical system, plumbing, roof, windows, insulation, paint job, back porch in Scott’s home, and new grass in her backyard.
Kinney said that Scott has enjoyed watching the process unfold and has benefited greatly by being socially connected to all the volunteers.
“She’s been here by herself for over 10 years, so I’m sure it’s a big change for her, but she’s warmed up to everybody,” he explained to the outlet. “She’s so happy, she’s got all types of new friends. She’s out here making lunch for us, laughing, joking. It’s just a miracle to witness.”
Kinney also explained how much this process has meant to him and his family too, saying that they have developed a special bond with Scott. They hope to continue their new-found friendship with her, even after the project is complete.
“She reminds me of my grandmother,” Kinney told CNN. “My daughter has bonded with her, my wife has bonded with her. It doesn’t stop here. Gloria is a part of my life.”
The electrician added that he also wants to keep Gloria’s Gladiators alive by offering services to other elderly people in the community and hopefully, extend it to other parts of the country.
In a proactive effort to accomplish this, Kinney set up a Facebook page to organize volunteers and projects, which currently has over 10,000 members.
“It’s about getting the whole community to be gladiators and fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves,” Kinney said.