Union members, contractors continue quest to repair 100-year-old home to provide transitional housing for women

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By SHERI GASSAWAY
Correspondent

OZARK MECHANICAL, a Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 contractor, generously donated a much-needed furnace and AC unit for the Pine Lawn home, which will provide transitional housing for women. Helping out the day of the install included (from left) Glenn Farmer, a Local 562 retiree, Ozark Mechanical’s Chris Jones and Tom Klipfell, Cathy “Momma Cat” Daniels, owner of the home, Kevin FitzGerald, a Heat & Frost Insulator’s Local 1 retiree, Don Moushey, a Sheet Metal Workers Local 36 retiree, and FitzGerald’s daughter, Lauren O’Connor (squatting), with Sophie, the house mascot. – Brian Steins photo

Pine Lawn – Late last year, Kevin FitzGerald, a Heat & Frost Insulators Local 1 retiree, put out a call for help to make repairs to a 100-year old home here, which will be used to provide transitional housing for women. And fellow union members and contractors have come through in a big way.

The home, which sat vacant for some time, was gifted to Cathy “Momma Cat” Daniels, the founder of PotBangerz – Feed the Body Mission. The non-profit organization’s goal is to uplift the community by meeting nutritional needs and helping unhoused families find permanent housing.

FitzGerald is leading the effort to help Daniels with the house and Brian Stiens, a Glaziers Local 513 retiree, is assisting. One of their biggest challenges was replacing the home’s HVAC system. Vandals had torn up the walls to steal copper piping and ripped apart the furnace.

NEW FURNACE, AC UNIT
“Ozark Mechanical, a Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562 contractor, stepped up in a significant way by donating a high efficiency furnace and A/C unit,” FitzGerald said. “It’s difficult to convey what their professionalism, charity and kindness did to propel the completion of this work.”

IBEW LOCAL 1 President Jim Reinheimer inspects the home’s electrical panel. Compared to other parts of the home, the electrical system is in pretty good condition, but required some work.
– Kevin FitzGerald photo
TEAMWORK: Glenn Farmer (left) and Morton Todd, both Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 retirees, tear into a wall in the house to determine plumbing routing and damage. – Kevin FitzGerald photo

STATE-OF-THE-ART WATER HEATER
Another major gift was a state-of-the-art water heater donated through Cindy Berne, a Labor-endorsed candidate who recently ran for the Missouri House seat in District 106, and her employer, Lowe’s.

IBEW Local 1 President Jim Reinheimer stopped by to inspect the electrical system, which FitzGerald said was in pretty good condition compared to other systems in the home.

“Jim and an IBEW Local 1 contractor will help us tweak a few things to bring the home into seriously good condition,” FitzGerald said.

COUNTLESS HOURS
Several other union members, many of whom are retired, have spent countless hours at the homemaking repairs, including installing new flooring, windows and ceiling fans and rerouting plumbing and HVAC lines.

“This is a 100-year old house that has not been maintained in a very long time,” FitzGerald said. “There are surprises at every turn.

TO VOLUNTEER OR DONATE
If you are interested in volunteering or providing materials or donations for the effort, call FitzGerald at 636-399-4147 or contact him on his Facebook page at facebook.com/kevin.fitzgerald.39904.

To learn more about Daniels and her mission, visit potbangerz.org.


 

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