Sunday, May 11, 2003

Helping hands repair homes



By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Saturday's rain and thunder didn't stop Jean Swartley from getting out to help others.

The South Cumminsville resident has been taking part in People Working Cooperatively's annual Repair Affair, which places more than 800 volunteers in the homes of the elderly and disabled to help with cleaning and repairs - for more than six years.

"It makes you feel that a lower-income person can get the help they need," said Swartley, who was working at the Oakley home of war veteran Alex Romanello.

Swartley and about seven others from two Oakley churches - the Oakley Mennonite Church and St. Cecelia's - were installing handrails on Romanello's front porch, along the basement stairs, attic stairs, and bathtub.

When another volunteer noticed the smell of natural gas coming from the basement, he called for a Cinergy repairman, who discovered a gas leak.

Romanello, who has a bad hip, estimates the volunteers did about 20 different tasks Saturday, including installing an electric unit in the kitchen, putting in a new window, putting deadbolts on the doors, and re-cementing the basement floor.

"They are just fantastic," he said, "And the jobs they do are fantastic, too. They really know what they're doing."

Jock Pitts, president of People Working Cooperatively, said, "We not only help people stay in their home, but we help to maintain the housing stock of the entire community."

Information: People Working Cooperatively, 513-351-7921

E-mail nhamilton@enquirer .com




TOP STORIES
'You call, we haul'
Death led to city's take-everyone policy
24 hours with Ambulance 12
Need advice? Listen to these moms
Flooding forces some to evacuate
On Rapid Run Road, residents mopping up
Rain a drain on Jammin' on Main
Local acts outshone big names on Jammin' stage

IN THE TRISTATE
Mom, daughter share in the pomp
Activist's bond set in bar shooting
UC can discipline rowdies
Dearborn Co. also marking bicentennial
Great expectations ride on Over-the-Rhine auction bids
Obituary: John Blanton, 81, GE executive
Gus Morgan volunteered to help Cincinnati youth
Helping hands repair homes
Tristate A.M. Report

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
SMITH AMOS: Perseverance pays
PULFER: Dayla Porter
BRONSON: Junk yard
HOWARD: Some Good News

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT

OHIO
Man held in shooting, 62, is Case graduate
Ohio Moments

KENTUCKY
$500,000 grant is 'win-win' for all
Residents impatient with Mall connector
Police retrieve weapon from pond in Cold Spring