Blog Fixer A Feel Good Story

A Feel Good Story

By Tracy Dau, September 25, 2020

A 72-year-old woman was quietly living in a dilapidated house. Then an electrician sparked a community to help her rebuild

Gloria Scott looks on as her house is being repaired.

(CNN)When electrician John Kinney walked into Gloria Scott’s home, in Woburn, Massachusetts, he quickly realized it was not going to be a quick job.

Scott had called because sparks were shooting out of one of her light fixtures. Once Kinney got the lights on, he realized it was just one of many issues plaguing Scott’s home.
“There was extensive plumbing damage, there was holes in the ceiling, raccoons were getting in,” he said.
She also didn’t have proper running water in the house. Her kitchen sink was broken and would spew boiling water, so Scott would shut off the home’s water supply turning it on only every couple of days to flush toilets. Scott, 72 and living alone, told Kinney she couldn’t afford the repairs.
“It was definitely a hazard. It was a rough condition she was living in and I noticed immediately.”
After leaving Scott’s house, Kinney couldn’t stop thinking about the woman alone in her run-down home. So the following Monday, he came back, pulled out his tools and got working — for free.
“I knew she needed help and I knew she wasn’t going to ask for it.”
Gloria Scott is surrounded by members of the "Gloria's Gladiators" team that is rebuilding her home.

Building hope

Kinney and some friends started helping out Scott with yardwork. But in order to make all the necessary fixes, Kinney needed more people to help. He started a fundraiser page titled, “Nice old lady needs help.”
The community answered, loudly.
Within 24 hours, people had donated more than $3,500, and the amount has since topped $100,000. The money paid for skilled professionals to work on the house, but volunteers also showed up along with donated materials and supplies. And local restaurants are sending over meals.
“The project kept growing and support kept pouring in,” Kinney said.
For Scott, it wasn’t just her house that was changing, but her whole life.
“She’s been here by herself for over 10 years, so I’m sure it’s a big change for her, but she’s warmed up to everybody,” said Kinney. “She’s so happy, she’s got all types of new friends. She’s out here making lunch for us, laughing, joking. It’s just a miracle to witness.”
Electrician John Kinney, right, helped spark a movement to rebuild an elderly neighbor's home.

Now, over a month into the repairs, the electrical fix has turned into a full home renovation. Workers have installed a brand-new electrical system, plumbing system, new roof, new windows, new insulation, a fresh paint job, a new back porch and even new grass in the backyard.
Kinney thinks the repairs should take another few weeks “at least,” but the work has sparked a movement: Gloria’s Gladiators. The Gloria’s Gladiators Facebook page currently has more than 6,000 members. Kinney said he hopes that chapters will start popping up around the country to help other elderly people in need.
“It’s about getting the whole community to be gladiators and fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves.”
The work on Scott’s house may be close to finished, but Kinney said the two of them have built an enduring bond over this project.
“She reminds me of my grandmother. My daughter has bonded with her, my wife has bonded with her. It doesn’t stop here. Gloria is a part of my life.”
What started around a broken electrical fixture has lighted up both of their lives.

Tracy Dau

Broker | Earth Advantage


When you meet Tracy Dau, it doesn’t take long to realize where her true passions lie.  She loves houses and loves matching her clients with the place that’s perfect for them.  Ask her clients and they’ll tell you she’s a whirlwind of energy, a juggler of projects, a creative force, a good listener and a tireless advocate.  She comes to the job with a vision for what’s possible and the background to make that happen. Maybe it’s because she grew up in the breathtaking town of Juneau Alaska, where it rains 250 days a year.  It’s the kind of place where you either give into gloomy weather or dig deep and find the will to preserve. Maybe it’s because her folks instilled in her the drive to succeed. For the past sixteen years she has gutted and restored many houses, using any opportunity to work with her hands. Blending her formal training as a fine artist and designer with her experience as a builder, these old-house remodels have become her creative canvas. Her time as a product developer and architectural consultant at Rejuvenation House Parts introduced her to a community of like-minded folks who encouraged her to become a REALTOR®. She is drawn to vintage homes. The artist in her is drawn to their detail, the builder in her to their craftsmanship. Their charm and imperfections make them all the more fascinating and soulful. That’s what drew her to her first home. Stripped of all her painted-lady features, she sat sadly on a corner lot in SE Portland waiting to be loved and cared for. She had a yard full of shopping carts, a tree that had grown through her facade, motor-oil soaked mattresses and a basement full of the neighbor’s missing car parts, and yet, in spite of this her husband Nate and Tracy bought and fixed her up. This renovation lead to the next house-love-affair, followed by another and another. It only made sense to apply this knowledge and the valuable lessons learned along the way to help others looking to buy or improve their own homes. Which brings me to why she became a REALTOR®. Tracy chose this job because she is passionate about houses and loves the chance to develop relationships with her clients. When you choose to work with Tracy, she will advocate for your best interests, guide you through the home buying process and protect you from the stressful moments as they inevitably arise. She will advise you every step of the way to enable you to make good decisions, stay centered and reach your goals. Even after your  transaction has come to an end, Tracy is still available to answer your questions and help with your home projects. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and being outdoors. Her hobbies include teaching her children, Lander and Olivia, about nature, hunting for sea creatures, spotting birds, drinking bourbon in the winter and gin in the summer, eating chocolate and traveling to warm destinations.
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