Jean Ferrara, a widowed mother of six, witnessed her turn-of-the-century home fall apart around her. The salary she earned as a Catholic elementary school principal couldn’t cover necessary home repairs – it barely covered the $1,600 in utility bills she paid each month to heat and cool the inefficient home. Relief was nowhere in sight until two local credit unions offered to help.
“I saw a community pillar so busy taking care of the needs of others, that she had little resource left to address her own,” says Carole Wight, Holy Rosary Credit Union president. “I knew that United Labor Credit Union understood the cooperative spirit and had members with the needed skills and asked if they would give back to someone who has given so much to the community.”
United Labor answered the call and rallied dozens of volunteer tradesmen representing multiple crafts in the Kansas City area to donate time, equipment and services to renovate Jean’s home. The project kicked off in July 2010 and became known as Operation: Maximum Impact. After 18 months of volunteerism, United Labor estimates that more than $100,000 was donated in the form of labor, equipment, supplies, appliances and materials. Improvements included an electrical service upgrade, complete heating and cooling system installation, 39 window replacements, insulation, plumbing, exterior prep and paint, land-grading, landscaping, tree trimming, porch rebuilding, interior flooring, debris haul-away and more. The improvements lowered Jean’s energy costs by 40 percent.
“Taking part in Operation: Maximum Impact was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our member unions and credit unions to collaborate and cooperate in a way that’s never been done before,” says Tim Vogler, United Labor president. “We truly exhibited what both types of organizations are all about through this philosophy in action project: people helping people.”
United Labor thanks the following organizations that took part in the project: CommunityAmerica Credit Union, I.B.E.W. Local 124, Pipefitters Local 533, Insulators’ Local 27, Sheetmetal Workers Local 2, Laborers’ Local 264, Laborers’ Local 1290, Laborers’ Local 663, Construction Industry Laborers’ Training Fund, Greater Kansas City Laborers’ Training Fund, Carpenters District Council, Greater Kansas City Building & Construction Trades Council and Plumbers Local 8. Additionally, FICOR, Holy Rosary Credit Union, City Credit Union, United Consumers Credit Union, also made donations of labor and funding.