By SHERI GASSAWAY
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.”
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.
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.