The termites didn't help either.
"Sometimes a small job turns into a big job," said Lively, a carpenter of 23 years with the Harlan County Community Action Agency.
It's Community Action Agency Month, but that doesn't mean Lively and his fellow crew of three have any more or less to do. When they finish work in Cottrell's home, they will begin work on another.
At 63 and on a fixed income, Cottrell wasn't too proud to ask for help.
"Some times in your life you gotta have help, he said.
Repairs to his home are being done through the agency's weatherization/home repair program, aimed at assisting low-income persons to achieve a healthful home with efficient heating and practical energy conservation.
"There's not many of us at all that are not one payday away from needing assistance in one form or another," said executive director Donna Pace.
Born from Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty," the Community Action Agency has become the nation's largest federally assisted network of organizations whose sole purpose is to eliminate the causes and conditions of poverty. The agency administers several programs including the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program as well as operating its own transportation service and employment and training programs.
Beginning on Tuesday, the CAA will begin one its biggest projects, the summer food service program for children. Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, which also provides free lunches in public schools, the program will provide a projected 2,100 Harlan County children with "well balanced nutritious meals," according to Pace.
Two years ago, HCAA delivered meals to 21 sites in the county, places where children can gather for a congregate meal, including camps and Sunday schools. Finance director Betty Burkhart said they hope to deliver to around 40 sites this year.
"It's expanding each year," she said. "We've come a long way."
Pace said the funding is there to provide meals to more children, but it's up to volunteers in the community to help organize the sites, each of which can host up to two meals a day. She said there are many low-income children in the community who need this service that may not get the opportunity because of the lack of participation from parents or organizations that could help coordinate a meal.
"We would like to see more organizations support the summer feeding program," said Pace. "Even if it's just an hour a day to supervise a congregate meal."
"One of the biggest obstacles is where the county is so spread out, it's hard to get meals to the far corners of the county," she said. "The meals have to arrive at a certain temperature."
Currently all meals are prepared at the CAA office, in the old armory building in Sunshine.
"We're looking at possible sites to extend the service area to the far corners of the county," said Pace. She hopes to find partnerships that will allow the program to reach children in the Tri-Cities, Clover Fork and Martins Fork areas.
And that's what Community Action Agency Month is all about.
"To try to promote partnerships to solve common problems," said Pace.