Three years ago, Cora Glenn stayed warm with a ceramic space heater in one room of her home — she had no furnace, and the blocked-off rooms' windows iced up in the winter.
Everything changed after she reached out to representatives with Project Community Connect, a yearly event featuring area organizations that provide services and resources for local residents with various needs.
Glenn signed up for the weatherization program with Northeast Community Action Corporation (NECAC). Since that moment about a year-and-a-half ago, Glenn has worked side-by-side with teams who installed a new heat pump, sealed leaks and performed a complete electrical system overhaul at her circa-1930s North 6th Street home. Shannon Utley, lead weatherization crew member, and crew member Ryan Branstetter installed a new sliding window in Glenn's kitchen Wednesday morning — other windows in the house were painted shut, preventing her from bringing fresh air into the home.
"She's loving it already, and I'm not even done with it yet," Utley said.
She said she can see Lovers Leap and glimmer of the Mississippi River from that window, and she joked that she "felt like a riverboat captain" as she slid the window open and closed.
"It's like Christmas morning for me," Glenn said with a smile.
Glenn was initially expecting the renovations to be akin to plastic wrap for her windows — but her expectations rapidly changed from the time crew members performed a thorough leak-down test, followed by repairs and additions aimed at making her house more efficient and reducing her utility bills.
Utley, Branstetter and fellow crew members sealed windows with caulk, prepared to install storm windows and cut pieces of lumber for other repairs on Wednesday. Glenn expressed her thanks for the NECAC crews and the impact they have made for her.
"I mean it's really 'in action,'" she said. It's not just talk, talk. They're really on the ground helping."
Glenn helped along the way, including insulation for pipes in the basement and wiring in the new electrical panel during September.
"Everything was totally cozy and warm when we had that cold snap," she said. "So I was able to bring in my tropical plants, and they're going to survive this winter. Thank you, NECAC."
NECAC Deputy Director of Housing Carla Potts agreed with Chairman Lyndon Bode that the program makes a positive impact and establishes new personal connections.
"We're always happy to be able to work with our clients and help them," she said. "It's all about helping to save energy — which saves on the bills — and it just helps in so many different ways. It's always our pleasure to get to come out and visit and talk to the people we've been fortunate enough to help."
For more information about the weatherization program, please call (573) 324-2251 or contact the NECAC Marion County Service Center at (573) 221-7166.