Matt Rynders, Weatherization Technician, Veterans Green Jobs
The minute Matt Rynders walks into a client’s home to begin the weatherization process, he knows he’s helping someone. “When clients say their energy bill was $400 last month, I tell them they will see a big difference” – and that feels good, he says.
Matt is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and his job today is vastly different from what it was just two years ago. As a construction equipment mechanic he maintained scoops, graders, back hoes and other equipment used for demolition and construction projects. He was also a Blackhawk door gunner for 15 months in Iraq. It was his job to transport people, ranging from Iraqi detainees to U.S. soldiers returning home, and sit at the aircraft’s door prepared for an attack. His life was in danger every day.
Today, Matt’s job offers a different sort of adventure: making clients’ homes more comfortable with energy efficiency and explaining the benefits of weatherization to needy communities. “People ask questions about what we are doing. We tell them these services will add value to their homes and boost their equity. And we come through. We provide sunshine on a cloudy day.”
Matt has developed a greater awareness about energy and energy use in recent years – and enjoys spreading his enthusiasm. He remembers 95-degree summer days 15 years ago, and now considers 105 degrees the norm. “I see the planet changing. If we can get more people interested in doing things like increasing our efficiencies and getting educated, we can change. It’s one more brick on the foundation of creating a green environment.”
Before coming to Veterans Green Jobs, Matt looked for ways to apply his sensibilities about the environment in his line of work and study. He considered working in the wind energy industry, and studied it for a while at Ecotech – but found that wind energy was beginning to “plateau.” So he decided to focus his time on working at Veterans Green Jobs weatherizing homes, where he continues to learn and explore new ways of becoming more energy efficient – not only for the benefit of clients, but for himself as well.
“I never thought about why I should insulate walls and attics, or how building science works – like how buildings breathe and whether they are vented properly,” he says, adding that many homeowners likely don’t think about these things, either. But now they will.
Matt, like the clients, finds it “amazing” that Veterans Green Jobs’ weatherization services are free, and loves telling others about it.
“It’s a country-wide program. I have never heard of anything else like it.
Our clients don’t have to give us anything. But they will hear, feel and see the difference we are making in their home.”