Dominion Power Volunteers Renovate Old Town Homes
Dominion Power and Rebuilding Together Alexandria are working together to identify and fix local homes in desperate need of repairs.
Joan Simmons is beaming.
Simmons hasn’t had a working furnace in two years, but “it’s not so bad because when you’re in a row house you get some heat coming to you from your neighbors’ heated houses on each side,” she said Thursday when volunteers came to help her out.
She’s getting a new furnace, a fresh coat of paint in light green, electrical upgrades and new pipes among many other renovations to her Wilkes Street home.
“I’m excited and relieved” about the work on the house, she said. “This is something I really need.”
She inherited the house from her aunt in 2008 and has lived there in Old Town since 2004. Her aunt had moved in when the house was new, around 1958, according to Simmons.
Simmons hasn’t been able to upgrade the house for a variety of reasons, including suffering from sciatica.
Down the block, another resident’s house was undergoing renovations, too. The occupant was unable to fix it up herself as she’s in her eighties and frail.
Working in concert with Rebuilding Together, Dominion Power provided 20 volunteers Thursday to help two Wilkes Street residents live in more comfort and more energy efficiency.
Rebuilding Together Executive Director Katharine Dixon said her Old Town-based group gets referrals for houses in need of repair from churches, the city’s Department of Human Services as well as spreading the word to successful applicants of the city’s tax relief program.
Dominion Power employee David Carpenter was on hand fixing up the houses.
“I have the skills, I can do it and it’s something good for the community,” said Carpenter, whose day job is working in Dominion’s Design Department.
Employee Rob McKinley lives on King Street in Old Town and said he’s honored to come out and help the community.
Dominion Power also gives employees eight hours of volunteer time, when they are allowed to volunteer anywhere they choose during a typical work day and still get paid by Dominion. The Wilkes Street projects fall outside of that purview and the volunteers are just doing it because, as Carpenter said "I like doing it."
Dominion spokeswoman Le-Ha Anderson said the company is part of Alexandria like it's part of so many communities and it's important to the company to give back.