Pat Shondrick believes in living off the earth. She said she always wanted a wind turbine since she built her house 40 years ago in Randolph.
She installed a 160-foot wind turbine at her home six years ago, when it aligned with her finances.
"The year I got it was the year Ted Strickland was governor and you got a big rebate for doing it, so it made it easier to put forth the money for it," Shondrick said. "They paid a big chunk of it."
Her son runs a trucking company in the back of the property and they both raise and sell cattle. When the wind reaches 8 miles per hour, the turbine starts churning and producing electricity. It helps power her home and heat an in-ground swimming pool. There are other days when she’s producing so much energy, her meter runs backward.
"My lowest electric bill was $15," Shondrick said. "They thought it would take care of all my electric, but it doesn’t. Part of the problem is the pool. That’s one of the places I want to try solar panels."
Greg Courtney of Wind Turbines of Ohio installed the turbine with steel supports, which looks different from commercial wind turbines seen in Cleveland and other parts of Ohio. At the time, he had installed only one or two turbines, but now he installs residential and commercial turbines across the state, Shondrick said. The turbine is in the back of her property, hidden from the road, and moves with the direction of the wind.
"I could have had the single pole. It would have cost more. At first I was going that way, but then I decided we’re putting it back here where it’s really not seen that much."
"There was cement truck after cement truck that came in," Shondrick recalled. "First, they had to send in soil samples. Once they started, it went up pretty fast."
Shondrick said she was told she was the first in the area to have a wind turbine.
"We had a terrible time getting this in with the township," she said. "They had no regulations for anything this tall. They considered it a building, and you can’t have buildings this tall in Randolph."
She worked with the township to help craft regulations for wind and solar energy in the township.
"I had a neighbor on the hill who was violently opposed to it, but everybody else was for it," Shondrick said. "We had a lot of people there that stood up and said ‘we think it’s a good idea’ and that somebody needed to try it."
There was also a woman in the township worried about bird deaths and noise, but Shondrick hasn’t experienced either.
Shondrick’s husband owns a cattle farm in Noble County, Indiana. She said they are talking about installing a wind turbine at the farm.
She said she has always been environmentally conscious. Years ago, she was part of a social concerns group at St. Joseph and pioneered a recycling center in the church parking lot before there were mandates for townships to have recycling centers, she said.
She considers her greatest gift to be teaching her children and grandchildren about wind energy and passing it on to them.
Reporter Kelly Maile can be reached at 330-541-9416, firstname.lastname@example.org or @KellyJMaile.