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North Carolina
Michael F. Easley, Governor           Theodis Beck, Secretary

For Immediate Release
October 5, 2001
Contact: Mildred Spearman
             (919) 716-3724

Inmates Refurbish Air Conditioners for Needy Families

YANCEYVILLE -- Inmates at Caswell Correctional Center are repairing used air conditioning window units as part of a new community service project designed to help needy families and to protect the environment.

"The HVAC Recycling program enables inmates to spend their time productively, and simultaneously acquire a marketable skill that hopefully will enhance their abilities to live a law-abiding life once they return to the community," says Joe Loftis, assistant superintendent for programs at Caswell. "They feel a sense of accomplishment, making a worthwhile contribution to the community."

The program was established in July 2001 with the cooperation of Piedmont Community College. Inmates refurbish and recycle parts from the donated air conditioners to create working units. Caswell Parish, a local faith-based agency, then distributes the repaired units to those in need. Since the HVAC Recycling Program began, the State Surplus Property Agency has provided approximately 60 window air conditioning units to the program.

Philip Poe, instructor, initially proposed the HVAC Recycling Program to enhance the vocational instruction and experience provided to inmates through Piedmont Community College. Inmates who complete the college’s 12-month diploma program are eligible to take the EPA test for Universal Certification.

The HVAC Recycling Project is part of a concentrated effort by the Department of Correction to promote environmental sustainability and to protect and preserve North Carolina’s natural resources. Because the program uses parts from non-working units to create working units, it keeps many used air conditioners out of area landfills, thereby supporting both solid waste reduction and recycling.

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