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Volunteers Help Bring Heat to Homeowners Affected by Landslide

About two dozen volunteers are working this week to help replace a gas line damaged by a landslide at a home along Sewickley-Oakmont Road.

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.

ED October 31, 2011 at 04:32 PM
Hey more power to the Everson's, but you'd think that the volunteers could find someone more in need of their largess than a couple who lives in a 2788 sq. ft., 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath home on almost an acre in Ross Twp.
da159 October 31, 2011 at 07:46 PM
Dear Ed, I cannot see how a struggling elderly couple without gas for proper heating and cooking or even laundry is not worthy of a little bit of assistance. Mr. Everson is a World War II veteran and I think that is enough to show some respect. An acre of land on a steep hillside and a 50 year old house that was purchased 38 years ago is hardly a reason for not helping a neighbor and fellow American with a disaster. The amount of work left to do to, prevent catastrophic damage to their house, is an enormous task that will require engineers, heavy excavation, and lots of man hours. Also the location of the house is on a very busy two lane road that is already narrowed because of this landside. I would rather see people’s largess go towards actually making a difference in their own neighborhood, rather than pouring time and money and supplies for a “more worthy” cause that wastes money in bureaucracy and advertising. So if you can tell me how they are not worthy of anyone’s help I would like to know. I am sorry you feel the way you do but I hope you receive help when you are in need. Sincerely, A volunteer
ED October 31, 2011 at 09:42 PM
"Mr. Everson is a World War II veteran"...So what? World War II ended 66 years ago...."a disaster"...I guess you and I have a different definition of "a disaster"..."The amount of work left to do to, prevent catastrophic damage to their house, is an enormous task that will require engineers, heavy excavation, and lots of man hours."...You are probably correct. If the remediation is not cost-effective then you tear down the house and go from there..."the location of the house is on a very busy two lane road that is already narrowed because of this landside"...It seems to me that the owner of the road (state, county or municipality) is responsible for the condition of the road...."So if you can tell me how they are not worthy of anyone’s help I would like to know."...I never said that, but rather pointed out that are many others in much more dire circumstances..."I hope you receive help when you are in need."...As do I.
Charlie Wingerd November 01, 2011 at 04:25 AM
Although grant money was received from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, the more compelling issue was 25 volunteers who worked on average four hours each on a Sunday afternoon. Thanks to the many volunteers, and especially A & N Lawn Service for the donation of the tracked excavator and operator, which saved the sole named volunteer considerable embarrassment and derision.
Charlie Wingerd November 01, 2011 at 04:37 AM
There several other projects that are being conducted and supported. The first is preparation of Christmas gift baskets by Berkeley Hills volunteers for distribution at the food bank in Spring Garden. The second is the annual filling of (Love Boxes) boxes by Laurel Gardens volunteers for distribution at Christmas by a confidential North Hills entity (rumored to be known as "Secret Santas".) A third project that was not funded with matching funds (depleted budget) is a Cookie Walk by Perrysville volunteers, with the proceeds going to the local North Hills Community Food Bank. A group of Berkeley Hills volunteers prepares monthly a weekend's meals for the Pleasant Valley Shelter at North Side Common Ministries. Funding is provided because volunteers give of their time; with projects above combined, an estimate of 1,600 hours.
Charlie Wingerd November 01, 2011 at 04:38 AM
Fundraising was completed and supported by Thrivent Financial this year to be able to host Special Olympics' summer bocce league play and their (now annual) season-end picnic and "championship" tournament play. A fundraising event was supported and completed last year for a North Hills child with an inoperable brain tumor in need of experimental treatment(s), and volunteers in Millvale raised funds to support a woman's family whose house was destroyed by a fire on January 1, 2010. While there are many in need in the North Hills community, the total loss of the equity in the Everson's home would be a great misfortune. Should one attempt to get one's parent(s) into a senior care facility, the costs are quite steep. The unnamed volunteers in all the projects apparently do not have concern for "who is my neighbor?"
Sylvia Lynn November 01, 2011 at 03:07 PM
I am proud that people still care for others and take the time to make life better.
Kathy November 01, 2011 at 03:07 PM
Well Ed, while we were working in the mud trying to help an older couple stay in their home, what were you doing? Oh, I bet it was sitting in your warm house waiting for the Steeler game to begin. Gee, a few hours prior to the game would certaintly help offset the calories one takes in watching TV.
Kathy November 01, 2011 at 03:50 PM
Thank you, "A Volunteer" for making this volunteer effort about neighbors helping neighbors...just because it is the right thing to do. So Ed, when you need help, rest assured that there will be people willing to help you, just because you're a neighbor.
Kathy November 01, 2011 at 03:51 PM
We all need help from time to time....
Mark A. November 01, 2011 at 06:43 PM
Ed's one of these Internet trolls who likes to take the other guy's post and pick it apart sentence by sentence. I hate that, come up with your own thoughts.
Kathy November 02, 2011 at 12:25 AM
Ed needs to channel his energies to more productive efforts. May I suggest the Food Bank, the library, Meals on Wheels or anywhere where he can see life beyond his own backyard.
ED November 02, 2011 at 08:11 AM
I though my comment might produce some critical responses and so far I have not been disappointed. I wonder if any of those critics are conservative Republicans who have previously parroted the lines about "taking responibility", "standing on your own two feet" or "pulling yourself up by your boot straps" when it comes to programs like welfare or food stamps?
ED November 02, 2011 at 08:54 AM
I'm sorry to inform you that the equity in this home is already gone or at least greatly reduced unless a buyer can be found for, as da159 descibes it, a 50 year old house, on a steep hillside requiring an enormous amount of work, involving engineers, heavy excavation, and lots of man hours, to prevent catastrophic damage.
Mark A. November 02, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Ed how old are you?
Richard R. Everson November 03, 2011 at 12:14 AM
Dearest friends - It is heartening, to say the least, to have discovered that so many helpful, unselfish people still exist in this world, to come and do such dirty work to help us. We can never repay them or thank them enough for their kindness. Our life has been a nightmare of stress and worry for months since this landfall occurred, and I lie awake almost every night helplessly trying to resolve the endless problems in my mind. Yes, we live in a nice house that I worked a lifetime to afford, but we have both been retired for a long time and live on a fixed income which inflation keeps eroding. The mere drilling study to determine a plan and costs of repair, alone costs $28,000, and the repairs may well exceed the reduced sale value of our house (which is presently worthless). We cannot maintain a house at our age and health problems, and it is our main asset which will likely evaporate. We would have been lost without the support of the virtually unbelieveably good-hearted Charlie Wingerd, and the many wonderful people and financial benefits he has supplied for us. We can never express the extreme gratitude we feel for Charlie and all of them, including our state Rep Dom Costa and his aide Anita Boehm. So, enjoy your life, Ed Anonymous, and hope that such a misfortune never happens to you in your old age.
Charlie Wingerd November 03, 2011 at 10:03 AM
A recent inapropos comment is a fortunate segue to the personal and direct participation of Rep. Dom Costa in this project and the often day-to-day involvement by his staff. Prior to his service in the PA House of Representatives, Dom worked as a registered Master Plumber and maintains his license. The Hon. Mr. Costa (stated literally) and Hildebrand Electric installed the electric water heater donated by Home Depot in the Everson's home on a Sunday morning in early June. In addition, Rep. Costa sought a fellow plumber, John Walls, to install the gas line pro bono, and he will be proceeding to completion following Equitable Gas' inspection. Mr. Costa and a member of his staff, Ms. Anita Boehm, were at the excavation activities on Sunday and thanked volunteers. Rep. Costa stepped away when the Patch's reporter's camera was in use. If characterization is necessary, Rep. Costa is a proactive Democrat, serving and protecting as per another previous professional capacity.
Pam B November 04, 2011 at 02:16 AM
As President of the Allegheny Chapter of Thrivent Chapter Board, I would like to thank Charlie Wingerd and all of the volunteers he organized to complete this project for the Eversons. The board didn't ask if Richard and his wife were Republicans or Democrats; we just saw an opportunity to help neighbors in need. In addition to the projects that Charlie mentioned in his previous posts, the chapter has provided funds to help make a bedroom handicap accessible, to provide meals for local homeless shelters, to purchase socks for Operation Safety Net, to help Meals on Wheels provide nutritous meals, to construct and plant a community garden, and the list goes on and on. I regret that another Thrivent commitment on Sunday afternoon prevented me from helping with this project because I did not get the opportunity to personally thank all those volunteers. I am glad the Eversons won't be facing a winter with only space heaters for warmth. And Ed, if you or someone in your family or neighborhood is in need of help, remember that there are many volunteers who would answer the call.
Richard R. Everson November 14, 2011 at 04:13 AM
That wonderful Charlie Wengert NEVER GIVES UP and has been back to help us any number of more times, along with his own obligations. He is strong as an ox and works like a horse, as I heve regularly observed while merely helping him, and never complaining; only giving of himself. He is one hardly believeable, true Christian, unless you have the great fortune of coming to know him personally. We will never be able to repay his kindness, although he has made a friend of me for the rest of my limited life. He has enheartened me, as I had come to believe that people like he had disappeared from our endlessly damaged socio-political landscape. So, take heart, everyone, and realize, as I have, that, though rare, few, and diminishing, a few human gems like Charlie yet survive! And not only Charlie...We have had strong, faithful support from our PA Congressman, Dom Costa, serving our 5th District in Ross Township, in the House of Representatives. (See next message),
Richard R. Everson November 14, 2011 at 04:25 AM
We have had strong, faithful support from our PA Congressman, Dom Costa, serving our 5th District in Ross Township, in the House of Representatives. If you've come to be down on politicians, with good reason, then Dom's exception truly makes the rule. He seems to love his job and using his power to help others, ane he deserves to be re-elected as a rule, if not elevated to a higher position to help others. As a former (but still skillful) plumber, not to mention Chief of Police, he and Anita have not only obtained a donor, electrician friend, installed, and later even adjusted, an electric water heater in our home, when our gas was cut off, but has followed up with careful concern for our well-being. Assisted by his efficient and also truly caring aide, Anita Boehm, they have kept tab on us faithfully. So, great as he is, Charlie Wingert is not the only one who yet cares, and we all should be grateful that such wonderful people yet care about us. We can never thank them enought, or care for them in return. Our tragicallly bad luck with the landfall, at our age, and the coming great loss and expense, has been endlessly horrendous, but it is almost worth it, or maybe moreso, if it leads to finding such wonderul human beings. So, never falter when you also face such bad events you find hard to believe, for there are precious human silver linings that you may also one day discover.
Charlie Wingerd November 14, 2011 at 10:08 AM
Dear ED, With the recent events of Veterans Day, your above comment weighed heavily on my mind: * "Mr. Everson is a World War II veteran"...So what? World War II ended 66 years ago... * Regardless of the fact that Mr. Everson spent most of his career in the VA Hospital system caring for Viet Nam era veterans with addictions, PTSD and other psychological problems, your callous statement is incredulously and appallingly repugnant. Not just about Veterans, but Veterans of World War II, dubbed the "Greatest Generation", for their sacrifice. They fought, many tens of thousands died, so that you may troll, research property locations and values, and criticize efforts of others. Apparently you do not live in West View or the North Hills School District; otherwise you would know that the West View Elementary School's sixth graders made their annual pilgrimage to Pittsburgh's Veterans Day Parade and the North Hills Indians Marching Band made their annual appearance to honor veterans. The invitations written expressly for you earlier to help out your neighbors in need still stand. A lot of sweat equity went into installing the Everson's gas line. You should neither disregard nor dishonor the blood and sweat given by those who served. Many of them will still shed tears in remembrance of the lives of their generation taken 66 years ago and earlier.
Mark A. November 14, 2011 at 04:11 PM
Charlie, Don't let anything ED says annoy you. If you look at his profile you'll see that every single comment he leaves is designed to anger the readers of the article he's commenting on. The best thing you can do is ignore him. Hey at least it shows Patch is doing a good job. No Internet site is complete until it has a resident troll!
ED November 15, 2011 at 01:53 AM
Oh, come on now Charlie. I have the utmost respect for our veterans of foriegn wars and the sacrifices they made. But, regardless, what happened 60+ years ago doen't really have anything to do with what is happening today. Many WW2 veterans who survived benefited greatly from the government benefits they were afforded.
Richard R. Everson November 17, 2011 at 01:12 AM
With all of the confusion and stress we have been trying to cope with, we are chagrined to have failed to mention the first ones who had offered to help us. Early on, they donated the proceeds of their rummage sale for our benefit. This would be the Heritage Presbyterian Church on Rochester Road in McCandless, if I am not mistaken. We are most indebted to them and their truly Christian members who care enough to help others in need, and we can never thank them enough for their kindness.
Kathy December 11, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Ed, if you are going to write on a public website, your opinions would be better received if you could lean to spell. I've overlooked some of your misspellings, but the word "though" means "in spite of or otherwise." The word I think you mean to write was "thought" which is the past participle of the word "think."
ED December 11, 2011 at 07:12 PM
Thanx fur the advise Kathy. I'll try to emprove. Konstruktivre kritisism is always welkome.

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