Weatherization work requires knowledge, persistence and compassion. For exhibiting those qualities as he rose through the ranks at Miami Valley Community Action Partnership, Eddie Cooper received the Dave Rinebolt Community Service Award at last fall’s Weatherize Ohio Conference.
“It was an honor just to be selected and to see the impact of what I was doing personally and as a representative of MVCAP,” Cooper said. “You’ve got to have a passion for what you do but ultimately you’ve got to have compassion for the people you serve.”
Cooper began his career at MVCAP in 2007 as a weatherization technician, performing tasks to weatherize homes in the nine county area the agency serves. He joined the weatherization program after working in construction for several years. He sought more regular hours that weren’t dependent on weather conditions, he said.
“I’d never done weatherization work before, but I’m a quick learner and knew my way around power tools,” Cooper said.
From there, he became an energy auditor, working as the agency’s first contact with clients. He is now the agency’s Assistant Housing Services Director.
“I just continue to strive and do more and I’m still learning every day,” Cooper said, noting he learned a lot from Rinebolt.
Rinebolt served as the founding director of Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy until he passed away in July 2021. OPAE created the award in his memory later that year.
“Just to sit and talk to Dave, his passion for low-income families was obvious,” Cooper said. “He always shared the ideas. He always dropped little nuggets for you to chew on.”
Cooper was among five honorees receiving the second annual award.
As assistant director, he now oversees hundreds of weatherization projects annually as well as programs for emergency home repairs and replacing inefficient appliances. He has worked on, audited and inspected all types of homes for all types of people and found no two alike. Creating an energy savings for clients is very fulfilling, he said.
“When you get that one customer who can’t say thank you enough, that really pricks your heart,” he said. “You feel you completed your mission.”
Learn more about MVCAP’s Weatherization program by clicking here.