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Tom Donahue, Rutland

We’ve got Wheels for Warmth. This is our fourth annual (in Rutland). It’s been happening for 15 years in Vermont, started by the governor, actually, Phil Scott, way before he was governor. He owned a construction company, and then he became state senator, and then lieutenant governor, and he still did this down here. Then once he became governor he kind of handed it off, so this Wheels for Warmth exists as its own organization. It benefits BROC-Community Action, and it benefits specifically our crisis fuel fund, which will keep Vermonters, specifically Rutland County families, warm this winter. Our trained staff will deal with people over the next few months to help distribute this money. We actually work through local fuel dealers, so the money actually goes to the local fuel dealers. The dealers bring their fuel directly to the home for the family that’s in need. Last year, of course, the winter never stopped — not as much snow as we might have liked — but there was a lot of cold that went on into April. We exhausted all of our funds last year. This event raised $20,500. This is a generous community. We care about our neighbors, and they were kind enough again to donate hundreds of tires again this year.

The Batman, Gotham City

I’ll tell ya, I’ve been looking for tires for the Batmobile as well as the Batcycle. We’ve had a great day here looking for tires at Casella’s Construction. My gosh, this is better that Gotham City ever thought of being.

Eric Schubert, Springfield

My role here is, I’m responsible for technology for Casella Construction to make what seems to be a trade-based industry a lot more powerful than it looks on the surface. Wheels for Warmth has been going on for a long time. We’re a huge, huge participant in this project. It does wonderful things for people, great deals for people who need tires on the cheap. Right now, everything here is half price, so you can come in and get a set of 17-inch tires and pay 50 bucks!

Vt. Sen. Brian Collamore,

Rutland Town

I’m part of the legislative delegation that is hosting the event again. Wheels for Warmth has been going on for 15 years up in Middlesex. So the idea is — and this was all occasioned by at the time Sen. Phil Scott came up with the idea of getting used tires, selling them for great prices so people have a chance who can’t afford to buy new tires to at least get a serviceable tire and take all the money from that and give it to BROC for their heat assistance program. That’s what it’s all about. ... The whole Casella team is the main part of this, but also Omya sponsors it and the entire Rutland delegation regardless of party comes up and cooks. We all have a good time, and it’s all for a good cause.

Melissa McCutcheon, Rutland

I am volunteering here today. I work at Vermont State Employees Credit Union, and we are volunteering for a good cause. The cause is Wheels for Warmth, to provide heating fuel for elderly and people who are in need over the winter

RH: Have you bought tires here?

MM: I have in the past — not this year, but I have — 17-inchers for my Nissan Pathfinder. I love it!

Naomi Chamberlain, Castleton

My husband Kevin works for Casella Construction, so we’re here volunteering our time for our community and helping people find tires for the winter.

RH: So they get you to haul these tires around?

NC (with fetching giggle): Yes!

RH: You pretty good at that?

NC: I am!

RH: Have you or your husband ever bought tires here before?

NC: I haven’t, but I have family members who have.

RH: So if I wanted a set of tires, ballpark, how much is that going to set me back?

NC: Anywhere from $25 to $100, depending on the size.

RH: Cheap! Come on down!

Vt. Sen. Cheryl Hooker, Rutland

RH: Tell me something, how are your hot dogs, Cheryl?

CH: Oh, the hot dogs are great! So are the cheeseburgers and the hamburgers, all donated by Omya for this incredible event. So what a great day it’s been here at Wheels for Warmth, the 15th annual, and we’re so lucky to have this, thanks to Gov. Scott who started it 15 years ago and the Casella company, which has been such an integral part of it. This whole event has kind of ripple effects. Not only does it help people who want to (A) get rid of tires, (B) who want to buy tires for an affordable rate, (C) who benefit from the fuel assistance that this money is raised for. So it’s an amazing event.

RH: People need the hots! When it gets cold!

CH: Absolutely!

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