A blizzard was coming, and Sherry Hinton was faced with the prospect of having to endure it without a functional heating system in her home. Through the Department of Housing and Community Development’s Emergency No Heat Program, Hinton, a Cecilton resident, was able to have a warm place for herself and her grandchildren to seek shelter from the elements.
In 2010 after the death of her grandfather, Hinton moved into his old house. The existing furnace in her home was old and already inefficient at best, Hinton said, but some tampering with the machine by a relative made it virtually unusable, leaving her without hot water or heat. A hairdresser by trade, personal difficulties left her without work and with no way to afford the necessary repairs.
“I would get about 275 gallons of oil, and my furnace would burn through at least 50 gallons a week during the winter,” Hinton said. “I’d need a delivery every few weeks, and it was gone so quick.”
On the Monday before the massive blizzard of January 2016 blanketed Maryland in nearly 3 feet of snow, Hinton called the department to see what could be done to help remedy her situation. That Wednesday she received word that contractors would be on site at her home on Friday, the day the storm was due to hit.
“They came in that morning, and they were done with everything maybe an hour after the first flurries started to fall,” Hinton said. “It was just so amazing how quickly they worked and the amount of things that they did during that time.”
In just a few hours time, the team of contractors had installed a brand-new furnace in her basement, reinforced the stairwell on the way down, and had taken a few other measures to help make her and her grandchildren safe and comfortable during the storm.
Hinton said the oil delivery she received in January was the last one she’s needed since before the blizzard came through. With a more efficient heater, she anticipates she won’t need another delivery until the winter.
“It’s just the most beautiful thing,” Hinton said. “With my energy costs lowered, I can put aside the money to save now.”
Hinton was impressed with the skill, efficiency, and kindness of the workers who came out to her house that January day. Despite the door being open all that time to let the workers come in and out, Hinton said her home remained warm. They worked quickly to get her set in time for the storm, and even took the time to buy a pizza lunch for her and her grandchildren.
“God was truly in here and with us that day,” Hinton said. “We stayed warm throughout the rest of the winter. My house has never been this warm and comfortable. They made it happen.”