By: Ray Judy, NASCSP Energy Services Director
Every once in a while there is an event or set of circumstances that causes you to pause and look at seemingly normal or routine things in a different manner.
As many of you are aware, NASCSP held an event in Washington, DC on September 7th celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the WAP. A part of this celebration included the airing of a video highlighting two weatherization client success stories from Indiana. NASCSP worked with the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority [Indiana’s WAP Grantee] and the Area IV Agency on Aging [one of Indiana’s WAP sub-grantees] to produce the video. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the client homes where the video was filmed.
As I was making the drive up to Lafayette, IN for the filming, I was looking forward to seeing the homes and the measures that were installed as each had experienced significant energy savings. Needing a “voice” from Area IV to describe what work was accomplished, Zach Thise was called upon to provide the narrative at each home. Zach, a 15 year veteran in Weatherization, was one of Area IV’s three WAP staff who carry both Indiana’s Energy Auditor Competency and QCI certification. That being the case, Zach was very familiar with the homes in the video.
It soon became apparent that Zach was also very familiar with the clients. As we entered each home you could tell that Zach had a rapport with the clients. They were happy to see him and continued to be very appreciative for the weatherization services that were provided.
Zach started his weatherization career working for a WAP contractor. When Area IV had an opening for an energy auditor, Zach took hold of the opportunity, obtained the position and went on to become an integral part of the Weatherization Team at Area IV. The rest as is often said, is history. Unfortunately in Zach’s case, that saying has taken on a much deeper meaning.
Indiana held their WAP 40th Anniversary event on Wednesday, October 12, 2016. I was fortunate to be asked to provide a few comments and introduce the viewing of the video mentioned above. On Monday leading up to the event, I was going through the day with my somewhat normal routine. That is when the words routine, normal and history took on a somber meaning. Included in the emails on that day was one from the WAP Program Manager at Area IV. Zach Thise, at the age of 34, had sadly and unexpectedly passed away the previous day. I think I read the email two or three times in an attempt to let the words sink in.
I obviously realized that I needed to change the introduction of the video as it now took on a deeper meaning. As I contemplated on what remarks to share, it came to me that Zach was a person who embodied the true essence and passion of a weatherization practitioner. His desire to help others, his ability to “get” or understand Weatherization and his willingness to stay with the WAP for the long haul made him an invaluable asset to the WAP. We thank Zach for his dedication and celebrate his contributions to the WAP!
This great program we all refer to as WAP is filled with individuals with a passion like Zach’s. While celebrating Weatherization Day and the 40th Anniversary of WAP, please take some time to appreciate all those who possess this type of passion and acknowledge the great work they do every day!