PERKINSVILLE, Vt. – Thelma Gerow has lived in Perkinsville since 1984 when she bought mobile home in order to help look after her mom shortly after her dad passed. Since then, she pursued various jobs in the helping professions – from working at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical as a phlebotomist to working with the developmentally challenged. Recently, she started a new job working with low-income families in Springfield. A hallmark of her life has been helping others – not just members of her own family.
Recently, conditions in her life and home turned the tables on her. A severe back injury made it challenging to get in and out of her home. In addition, her roof began to leak – projects too large and too expensive to handle on her own.
Gerow contacted Vital Communities to see if some organization might be able to give her a hand with these two projects. She was referred to COVER Home Repair in White River Junction – an organization that utilizes volunteers under the guidance of their construction staff – to make urgently needed home repairs for qualified homeowners in the Upper Valley.
For four days in August, John Heath and Jay Meade of COVER Home Repair, worked with a group of MBA students from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth to install a new roof and build an accessibility ramp.
“For over ten years, COVER has partnered with the Center for Business, Government, and Society in a program called Tuck Builds,” said Executive Director Merritt Patridge. “This program provides a unique opportunity for students to get to know the Upper Valley and partner on a community service project while making a real, concrete difference.”
One of the challenges was to make the project affordable. The Tuck student volunteers helped reduce the labor cost. Gerow paid for a portion of the material costs along with sponsorship from The Vermont Center for Independent Living, The Byrne Foundation, and one of COVER’s Ramps & Roofs Fund sponsors, Dr. Norm Levy.
Dr. Levy is also a strong advocate of low cost energy conservation measures like replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs. Dr. Levy was, therefore, pleased to learn that Gerow had already made that switch.
“The hallmark of COVER projects is community collaboration. We believe these projects not only make homes safer, warmer, drier, and more energy efficient but we also help build new relationships in the community in the tradition of neighbors working with neighbors,” said Sarah Brock, chair of the COVER Board.
People who donate furniture, appliances, cabinets, and other building materials to the COVER Store at 158 South Main St. In White River Junction, as well as those who shop in the store, are also very important “partners” of COVER. “The magic of COVER is that we turn a donated sofa or mattress into a new roof or ramp for qualified homeowners, as well as reducing the amount of stuff that goes into a landfill,” said Diane Reinhardt, COVER Store Manager.
For more information, contact Executive Director Bill Neukomm at email@example.com.