NORTH ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- With a smile that shines through the morning rain, you probably wouldn't guess Irma Gaines is looking forward to a big birthday when she turns 84 in August.
Gaines lives off of Natural Bridge Road in a home she and her late husband bought in 1961. She also raised four kids in the house, so tucked in every nook and cranny is a memory.
Like so many houses in her neighborhood, Irma’s home is aging. She says over the years she’s done her best to keep up with the upkeep.
Now, on a fixed income, she brings in enough each month for food and medicine. House repairs don’t make the budget.
That’s where the men in orange from Rebuilding Together come in.
Journeyman electrician Paul Doeren is one of the hundred plus electricians and electrical contractors, working on a Saturday to help a neighbor.
“I grew up in this neighborhood,” Doeren said.
In Gaines’ case, her lifestyle is changing one bulb, one electrical fix and one stair lift-chair at a time.
“Arthritis in my knees, one bathroom upstairs,” Gaines said.
Gaines still lives at home with the help of her son. Her daughter also comes by to help. And now she’s looking forward to gaining more freedom and living in her feels-like-new home for many years to come.