- October 30, 2017
- Posted by Rikki Luebke
After a season of trail maintenance, the last few weeks for Montana Conservation Corps crews are spent providing hands-on energy assistance through a program called Warm Hearts Warm Homes. This program was established by Governor Brian Schweitzer in 2005 and reaches families in all 56 counties and on all seven reservations in Montana.
In order to reach more homes, crews were split up into even smaller groups. In our second week of Warm Hearts Warm Homes, Thomas and I went to Browning, MT to serve families on the Blackfeet Reservation. We were able to reach homes in Babb, Browning, and Cutbank throughout our weeklong hitch in Browning.
In the homes we visited, we were able to install weather stripping and door sweeps on exterior doors to prevent drafts. We also put plastic on windows, to create a layer of insulation. Other tasks included checking the hot water and refrigerator temperatures to ensure hot water heaters and refrigerators were running efficiently and at the right temperatures. We also provided homes with LED light bulbs, which not only last longer than standard light bulbs, but also use less energy. In addition, we also provide home owners with education on additional ways to stay warm and save on their energy bill.
Upon training for Warm Hearts Warm Homes, I did not expect that I would have such memorable, meaningful conversations with the home owners. Although some clients stay busy with other tasks while we are in their homes, others are eager to chat with us. Many were enthusiastic to learn about where we came from while also sharing their own stories.
One specific couple really stands out in my mind from the week. They lived in a trailer pretty far out of town. When we came into their home, they informed us that they were in need of several new windows as well as a new hot water heater. It was heartbreaking to inform them that we would not be able to provide them with these items. I explained to them the services that we would be providing and we got to work. As I put plastic on their broken windows, I hoped that they would receive replacements soon. Although we were not able to provide what they really needed, the couple was beyond grateful for the services we did provide especially the plastic on the windows. They were excited to see the weather stripping create a better seal on their door. While we were not able to provide this family with new windows, the services we provided will help them stay warm and reduce their energy bill until they are able to get new windows.
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