The Best of Times

For today’s blog, another Styx classic fits the bill…

“The headlines read these are the worst of times…”

The front page of Saturday’s New York Times featured this story of an elderly, disabled, fixed-income couple in rural Maine.  They were out of heating oil, already owed the oil company for two previous deliveries and had no way of paying for the next one.

The oil dealer took this pretty hard.  Imagine yourself in his position: he’s a kind-hearted businessman trying to pay his own bills, and his kindness has seriously affected his business profitability. He has to shut the guy off.  No wonder he’s on stress medication – the decision tore him up inside.

Two days later, the retiree drives up to the oil company office and offers the title to his car in exchange for oil.  The stunned office staff pays for the oil themselves.

End of story, right?

Not in this internet world.

Bloggers Allison Bailes of Energy Vanguard (click here) and Peter Troast of Energy Circle (click here) caught wind of the story and  the ball started rolling.

Troast got in his car Sunday morning, along with DeWitt Kimball of Complete Home Evaluation Services and Josh Wojcik and Kevin Casey of Upright Frameworks, one of Maine’s leading weatherization companies, to evaluate the home (a vintage 1800’s converted cabin – a blower door test showed 1.37 ACH!), and to do what they could.

To quote Styx from our previous blog post – each one is a “straight-talkin,’ hard-workin’ son-of-a-gun.”

Not only that, but the phones at the oil company, Hometown Energy in Dixfield, ME, have been ringing off the hook.  In just three days, more than $100,000 in unsolicited donations poured in from all over the country.

“I didn’t expect this to happen,” says Ike Libby, owner of Hometown Energy. “You can’t even put it into words.  America’s got a heartbeat and we are hearing it.”

Libby is using the money to set up a trust fund to help other people who can’t pay for oil.

I’d call that the best of times.

If you’re interested in donating, Hometown Energy has started a webpage to make it easy – click here.

And while you’re at it, raise a glass to Ike Libby – he’s a class act.

The best of times, indeed.

And click here for a full video from Channel 6 News in Portland, ME.

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