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Habitat helps area family stay warm this winter

Heating a home with cherry pits – does this sound like a “pie in the sky” idea? Perhaps, but it could be a reality for a local family who is being helped by LaGrange County Habitat for Humanity’s “A Brush With Kindness” program.

David and Ruth Bryan live east of LaGrange in the former Bloomfield School, built in 1904. Since their gas furnace literally “blew up” several years ago, they have heated their school-home with electric space heaters. Last year, Ruth, who is disabled, contracted pneumonia and spent most of the winter in a local nursing home.

David, who is also disabled due to an accident when he was driving a truck, is employed part-time by a janitorial service that cleans the LaGrange County Courthouse, but installation and purchase of fuel for a conventional furnace was impossible in their financial situation.

Last spring, after Ruth’s winter in the nursing home, David began researching solutions to their heating dilemma, and a pellet stove seemed to be a viable answer. Ruth combed the area classifieds and found a used 81,000 BTU wood pellet furnace for sale.

David contacted LCHFH for assistance with installation and financing of the pellet stove. On Nov. 21, LCHFH volunteers, assisted by David, completed the job, which involved removing the wood that had been placed in a window area with new wood and siding on the outside, installing drywall inside the house, and then venting the furnace through this area.

“This is a perfect solution for us,” David explained. “We should be able to heat the portion of the building in which we live for about $75-80 per month. Because this furnace is a multi-fuel unit, it can burn any biodegradable fuel – wood pellets, corn, soybeans, peanut shells, and, yes, even cherry pits.”

Installation of the furnace is compatible with LCHFH’s goals of supporting a clean environment by utilizing green technology and renewable energy. The unit is nearly smokeless and the fuel is readily available at several area outlets.

“So much has gone wrong in our lives,” David said. “This is an amazing benefit for us. Ruth and I are truly thankful for all the assistance we received.” And, this winter, Ruth hopes to be able to stay in her warm, cozy house.