A Rio Claro offshore worker who decided to use his vacation time to help needy people has won the hearts of many in his community.
Tarran "Neil" Ramcharitar, 34, an electrical engineering technician at Shell, began offering his services at no charge.
Ramcharitar has over 15 years' experience in plumbing and electrical work.
On Friday, via his Facebook account, he posted that he wanted to give back something to his community by "donating" his skills.
These include installing or repairing water pumps and refrigerators for people who cannot afford to pay for such services. The drive was initially set for December 6-12, with the support of friends.
He told Newsday he started the drive over the weekend, earlier than plannled, because of the high volume of calls he has been getting.
"Some people have no electricity, no windows in their home. Those are the ones I am helping. It is for people who are in need. I helped a lady. Her home was leaning," Ramcharitar said. "I was amazed that when I was done, she offered me $100. It was touching to see she did not have, but still wanted to give. She reminded me of myself."
Ramcharitar recalled visiting a bedridden lady and a disabled man living in separate homes over the weekend.
"The man wanted a simple tap changed, but cannot move about properly. After I bought the materials and fixed the problem, he was very grateful. He keeps calling to say thanks."
Ramcharitar said he knows what it feels like to live in poverty. At 17, he built a small plywood house for his mother, siblings, and himself.
"At 17, a neighbour gave me a lot of land to build, and the Good Lord helped me to build a 12-by-24 house. We had two beds, and we had no walls. We used curtains as partitions," he said.
As a child, he never imagined that he would have his own home, own a van, or travel abroad one day.
"I did not believe that I would have a van. I never thought I would have been travelling on a plane. It's such a miracle."
So, he said, "I made an agreement with God, telling him if he blesses me, I will bless others. Today I am in a position to bless others. I have always believed in helping others. I usually help my friends, but I wanted to help the less fortunate...
"Everyone needs a hero at some time in his/her life. I am not a millionaire, but I am blessed with a good job. I am blessed with knowledge."
A Facebook user commented on his project: "This is such a great initiative in response to the drive. May God bless all the hands that will be working for free in order to bless others in our community. May you never be out of a job. Thank you on behalf of all those who will be receiving this service."
Another said, "Great initiative. May you all be abundantly blessed."
People can visit his Facebook page for more details.