Last week I noticed this online news article:
“A 72-year-old Woman Was Quietly Living in a Dilapidated House. Then an Electrician Sparked a Community to Help Her Rebuild” by Ryan Bergeron for CNN.
I think it is a great story detailing how rebuilding a home builds hope! It’s important to share such real-life examples when so much news today is sad and troubling.
Electrician John Kinney is a hero in this story. He entered Gloria Scott’s home in Massachusetts for a job that presented him with a challenge. It became his opportunity to help someone and also to build hope — for both Ms. Gloria and for me.
Ms. Gloria had a problem that needed attention because “sparks were shooting out of one of her light fixtures.” Kinney succeeded in getting the lights on, however it was obvious that Ms. Gloria’s home needed additional work. Kinney explained, “There was extensive plumbing damage… holes in the ceiling, raccoons were getting in.”
Running water was a definite problem. Because the kitchen sink was spewing hot water, Ms. Gloria had shut off the water to her home. Every couple of days she turned it back on only so toilets could be flushed.
Ms. Gloria lived alone and unfortunately could not afford needed repairs. Kinney described her home: “It was definitely a hazard. It was a rough condition she was living in, and I noticed immediately.”
After leaving her house, Kinney continued to think about the elderly woman alone in her home that was plagued by so many problems. He was compelled to return with his tools and begin work — at no charge! He realized that she needed help, and he understood she was not going to ask for it.
Soon friends joined in helping with yardwork, but Kinney needed even more help. He began a fundraiser entitled, “Nice old lady needs help.” Local individuals responded overwhelmingly. Donations have poured in to exceed $100,000.
Professionals with the skills needed to work on the house were now paid, and volunteers still came to help. Materials and supplies were donated. Restaurants provided meals. Kinney reported: “The project kept growing and support kept pouring in.”
While Ms. Gloria’s house was being improved, her whole life was being impacted by the kind acts of Kinney and so many others. Kinney described the effect: “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…. 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.”
In just over a month Kinney’s initial electrical work was upgraded to a total home renovation. Ms. Gloria’s home has new electrical and plumbing systems, new roof, new windows, new insulation, new paint, new back porch, and new grass in her backyard.
Hero Kinney and other heroic helpers are now known as Gloria’s Gladiators with a Facebook page and more than 6,000 members so far. Kinney hopes for similar chapters starting across the country to help other elderly folks who have such needs. He explained, “It’s about getting the whole community to be gladiators and fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves.”
Even more lasting than home improvements, Kinney and Ms. Gloria have formed an unexpected bond since this project began. He shares: “She reminds me of my grandmother. My daughter has bonded with her, my wife has bonded with her. It doesn’t stop here. Gloria is a part of my life.”
Newsman Bergeron expressed it perfectly: “What started around a broken electrical fixture has lighted up both of their lives.” That reality builds hope in me and makes me thankful for John Kinney and other heroes like him!
“How blessed is he who considers the helpless; The Lord will deliver him in a day of trouble.” (Psalm 41:1)
“Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy….” (Psalms 82:3 – 4)
“He has given freely to the poor, His righteousness endures forever….” (Psalms 112:9)
“One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his good deed.” (Proverbs 19:17)
“The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor; The wicked does not understand such concern.” (Proverbs 29:7)
“For when the ear heard, it called me blessed, and when the eye saw, it gave witness of me, because I delivered the poor who cried for help and the orphan who had no helper. The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me, and I made the widow’s heart sing for joy.” (Job 29: 11 – 13)
“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Acts 20:35)
“Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good to his edification.” (Romans 15:1-2)
“Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (1 Corinthians 9:7)
“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4)
“And do not neglect doing good and sharing for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” (Hebrews 13:16)
“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (1 Peter 4:10)
“But whoever has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” (1 John 3:17)