A few weeks before quarantine, our president, Nicole Banks, went to dinner with her friend, Tisma Juett. The restaurant they chose was very busy with over an hour wait time for a table, so they chose to sit at the bar. They struck up conversations with the people around them and made new friends. One of the people, Greg Blackburn, turned out to be an Army veteran and a plumber. He and Nicole talked at length about their times in the service (Nicole was in the Marine Corps), and she shared with him about her work with Starfish.
"We've been doing this for nearly two years, and we've never needed a plumber. But would you mind if I called you if we ever do? It's very unlikely," she said.
"Sure. And I can refer you to some other people who can help if I can't," Greg replied.
Well, guess what?
This week, Ofc Heidi Graber (13 Pct, South Side) called us and said that one of the families she works with didn't have any water. She described the situation, which sounded very serious, so we put her in touch with Greg. He talked her through a few things, then made several recommendations, including telling her to call the plumber's union, who was very responsive. Ofc Graber Facetimed with Tim Ely from the union while in Belinda's basement so he could make sure to have a full grasp of the problem before going into the house.
Ofc Graber later learned that Belinda had contacted a local, well-known plumbing company, who, when they arrived at the house and assessed the problem, told her she didn't make enough money for them to bother with. Please know that Belinda had offered to make monthly payments on the debt. She was desperate to get it fixed and just wanted a solution for her family.
It appeared that perhaps the yard would need to be dug up and the pipes to the house would have to be replaced. But first, Tim contacted Kenny Davis, who sent one of his most experienced employees, Brian, who was somehow able to...re-thread a valve or something. (Sorry. This is where we got lost.) But it's fixed!! Belinda and her family have water! Ofc Graber asked Tim and Kenny a few times how much we owe them, but they declined to give us a figure.
We'd like to note that Tim had another company on standby ready to dig up Belinda's yard if Brian hadn't been able to fix it. They were determined to help this family. In the midst of dealing with their own work, and in the midst of their own stresses that this pandemic has brought on, they saved Belinda's home and family.