Unwanted wood helps heat poor


MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) – A Montpelier man is helping needy people in central Vermont heat their homes this winter by distributing wood that otherwise probably would go to waste.

James “Buzz” Surwilo contacted city officials last spring after noticing while walking along the bike path a number of trees that had been felled.

He contacted city officials and asked whether he could take the logs, cut them and split them for firewood.

The parks and public works departments said they would alert Surwilo to any wood that was available. He also posted a sign at a stump dump in the city asking for wood. He put up posters and knocked on the doors of homeowners who had downed trees.

Surwilo has been volunteering with the Central Vermont Council on Aging, which helps the elderly live in their own homes as long as possible. “I bounced (the idea) off them,” Surwilo said, “and they said, ‘Sure, we’ll spread the word and see if people need firewood.”

The council’s Neighbor to Neighbor program gives names and phone numbers to Surwilo, who then delivers the firewood.

Surwilo recruited Montpelier High School students to help him cut and split wood. “Some of them are doing it because they want to do community service, and some of them have to do it or else they sit in detention hall after school. Most of them like to do the fresh air,” he said with a laugh.

Surwilo estimates he’s delivered 25 truckloads so far.

Information from: The Times Argus, http://www.timesargus.com/