The McIntyre Family lives in the Woodlands development outside of Evans City. In 2011 Fred and Janet McIntyre lost the well water on their property due to chemical contamination following the drilling of gas wells nearby. As time went on, it was found that some of their neighbors in the Woodlands and other people in the surrounding area also had well water contamination. This prompted the McIntyres and other members of the community to step up and start a “water bank”. They collect donations of drinkable water from local grocery stores and other places, and store the water within a local church's hall. The water is then rationed out to the local families that need it.
Some residents, including the McyIntyres, received 1,500 gallon water buffalo tanks set up outside their homes. This water is for everyday use such as showering, cooking, laundry, etc., but it is not drinkable.
The McIntyre home is located on a dead-end road that is not publicly maintained. There is no infrastructure and this limits access for the large trucks that are sent to refill the water buffalo tanks. Last winter, they went almost 2 months without any water due to the poor conditions of the road and driveway due to weather.
Both Fred and Janet suffer from several health issues. Janet suffers from Leukemia and has kidney problems, as well as back pain from an old injury. Fred has Emphysema and heart problems. Both of them are on disability and unable to work. Their youngest daughter (age 14) has special needs. While dealing with all of these issues, they lack the financial resources to make the improvements to their driveway so the trucks can deliver the water without getting stuck. The driveway was in very poor condition with very deep mud, making it extremely difficult to drive on or even walk from their vehicle to the door of their house. This made water delivery impossible during the winter months and other severe weather.
After meeting with the McIntyres, we at Once Upon a Hero were glad to help and a plan was put into place. Mark Thomas Excavating, of Butler, knew of the McIntyres and generously donated a crew and all heavy equipment required to get the job done. Mark installed a drainage trough (which he provided) out at the road and graded the driveway. Shale was then added for a base and then gravel to improve the driveway and make it accessible for the trucks to get in and deliver the water. Once Upon A Hero covered the cost of the material for the driveway improvements, along with a submergible water heater for the water buffalo to keep it from freezing in the winter.
Once Upon a Hero was honored to assist the McIntyre family in acquiring their basic need of water, which all of us take for granted. In doing so, we are fulfilling our organization’s mission of “paying it forward,” and keeping the memory of Don Spillane alive by helping others in need.