A Vermont man has a new reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving week: a full tank of home heating oil.
“When she first told me, I didn’t know if I should cry or what,” Henry Stone of Rutland recalled of a phone call from Mary-Rachel Keyser of Keyser Energy.
Stone had his home heating tank filled up free Monday, through an offering called Split the Ticket, where fuel dealers including Keyser Energy and local charities partner to cover Vermonters who have fallen on hard times.
“We’re going through a lot,” Stone sighed.
The school bus driver and National Guard member’s wife, Crystal, just had surgery for breast cancer, she said.
Then, Stone needed a new van for their son, also Henry, who uses a wheelchair.
So as the temperatures drop and snow starts to fall, the 220 gallons of home heating oil couldn’t have come at a better time, Stone said.
“I feel like if you try to do right, blessings come,” Stone told necn. “You just have to be patient.”
The separate, federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP, released nearly $17-million to Vermont this month. That money will also help people who struggle to heat their homes.
Congressman Peter Welch, D-Vermont, helped push for that funding, but said Monday he expects more battles ahead, since the White House initially questioned LIHEAP’s integrity and recommended eliminating its more than $3-billion budget.
“Ideally, you’d have some stability in funding, so that people, whether it’s the LIHEAP program, or frankly, the Pentagon, have some confidence that Congress was going to provide stability, so that managers could manage,” Welch said.
Henry Stone said his hundreds in newfound fuel savings from Split the Ticket will really help ease his strained finances as winter starts.
Click here for more info on Split the Ticket.
For information on other forms of home heating help in Vermont, contact your local community action organization. A list can be found here.