A Massachusetts community has rallied around an elderly woman whose home was in desperate need of repairs thanks to one courteous electrician.
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.
“It was definitely a hazard. It was a rough condition she was living in and I noticed immediately,” Kinney continued.
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.
Because of that, Scott said she would often shut off her water supply and only turn it on every few days to flush toilets, CNN reported.
“I knew she needed help and I knew she wasn’t going to ask for it,” Kinney told the outlet.
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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.
But he didn’t stop there. After cleaning up and doing a ton of yard work for Scott, Kinney decided to create a Facebook fundraiser called “Nice old lady needs help” where he called on the community for their assistance in order to complete her renovations.
“Everyone did an amazing job, and this nice old woman was very grateful,” he wrote on the Facebook fundraiser. “It’s simply just not enough, though. She has some serious plumbing issues that need to be corrected.”
“There is extensive drywall repair to be done. A massive amount of painting,” Kinney continued. “Her front porch brick steps are an accident waiting to happen. I’m not looking to rebuild her whole house. I just want to make it safe and livable for her.”
Within hours, the fundraiser received more than $3,500. Today, over a month since their repairs first began, 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.”
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So far, the Gladiators have managed to install a new electrical system, plumbing system, roof, windows, insulation, paint job, back porch in Scott’s home, and new grass in her backyard.
Kinney told CNN they have more work to go, which will take another few weeks “at least.”
While this all has been going on, the electrician said Scott has enjoyed watching the process and getting to know 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.”
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He also noted how he and his family have developed a special bond with her that he expects to maintain, even after their renovations are complete.
“She reminds me of my grandmother,” Kinney told the outlet. “My daughter has bonded with her, my wife has bonded with her. It doesn’t stop here. Gloria is a part of my life.”
Kinney’s relationship with Scott isn’t the only thing that he hopes to maintain down the line.
The electrician said he also wants to keep Gloria’s Gladiators alive by offering services to other elderly people in the community and hopefully, around the country.
To do this, he set up a Facebook page to organize volunteers and projects. It currently has more than 9,400 members.
“It’s about getting the whole community to be gladiators and fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves,” Kinney told CNN.