Married since October 2004, James Gregory, originally from Montana, and his wife Vertie, a Knox County native, had made a home for themselves, their daughter, and their three fur babies in the Barbourville area. The family was facing difficult times when a declining economy hit the area causing James to lose his job. Following the job loss, the family received services through the Unemployment Bridge Program at KCEOC. During that experience they were referred to the Weatherization Program. Vertie stated the family was in need of a new HVAC system since their unit had previously caught on fire. “It had been four years since we had heat and air conditioning. We were using a wood burning fire place during the winter and window air conditioners in the summer. Our utility costs were outrageous!” The family was already financially burdened following the loss of their major source of income. This hardship prevented the any necessary repairs to their home.
When asked about the condition of their home Vertie replied, “I did not know my home needed that much work. KCEOC repaired and replaced things I never knew where a problem.” Vertie soon required major surgery and had to stay in a nursing home for rehabilitation. Once recovered enough to be discharged home, she noticed that the Weatherization crew had already completed most of the work. “They had replaced windows, weather stripping, carbon monoxide detectors, smoke alarms and sealed air leaks. For the first time in four years I had heat, I didn’t have to use the unsafe fireplace any longer.”
The energy audit prior to the completion of weatherization showed a blower door reading of 3090. The post inspection blower door reading was 1162. This ensured the home had been well weatherized and was more energy efficient. The Gregory’s monthly utility cost decreased from $300 to $130 after the completion of Weatherization. Better yet, the family states they can now open the blinds and see sunshine instead of a window air conditioner.
Vertie concluded, “It’s hard to ask for help especially when you’ve never had to before, but I’m just so thankful we did. It is such a great thing what this program does for people who can’t do it themselves. I pray for the program and the crew every day.”