Facing a winter without access to gas and central heating, Richard and Faith Everson planned to get through the cold temperatures using space heaters they had purchased for each room in their house.
Richard, 83, and Faith, 74, own a one-story, split-level four-bedroom house along Sewickley-Oakmont Road. In April, a landslide caused part of their front yard to collapse and spill onto the well-used thoroughfare, restricting traffic for months. The gas line to the house was damaged in the process and shut off by the gas company.
On Oct. 30, about two dozen volunteers arrived to help clear land and dig a trench along the driveway for installation of a new gas line — ensuring that the couple will have central heating as the temperature drops.
Work on the project will continue Monday and Tuesday.
"Hopefully, they'll have gas by Wednesday," said Charlie Wingerd, a local geologist who led the volunteer project after writing a grant that provided $1,000 toward the rental of equipment to do the job.
The Eversons have no children and are living on a fixed income. Wingerd, who said he got to know the couple after stopping by out of curiousity about the landslide in the spring, said Richard Everson reminds him of his own father.
"He's a World War II vet and the same age as my dad," Wingerd said.
After that first 90-minute conversation, Wingerd called elected officials on their behalf. He then helped raise money to help offset some of the costs of repairs the Eversons' faced, working with the Heritage Presbyterian Church in Wexford and even attempting a lemonade stand this summer in Perrysville.
Through the connections and money raised, the couple was able to install an electric water heater earlier this year and hire an engineer they've paid to do a study on what repairs would be needed to restore the yard and at what cost.
"That Charlie is a saint," Richard Everson said. "He just came by and offered to help, and he's still doing all he can."
The cause of the landslide is still unknown. Heavy spring rains may have contributed to it, but "why it gave away after all these years, who knows," Everson said.
The house, with 2,788-square-feet of living area, was built in 1961. Everson has owned the home since 1973.
Volunteers working this week at the house included men from St. John's Lutheran Church, Eagle Scouts from Troop 368, and members of the North Hills School Marching Band.
What do you think of the volunteers' efforts? Tell us in the comments.