This August, we ran a case study in PM titled, “Tankless technology brings hot showers to the homeless.” The story, written by Tony Bara, illustrates how tankless water-heating technology is employed to help a nonprofit organization, ShowerUp, provide much-needed mobile showers to the homeless population of greater Nashville, Tenn.
Paul Schmitz founded ShowerUp in 2016 after learning about the abysmal lack of showers available to the area’s homeless population. He just wanted to help.
The truck has a Noritz NRC98-DV propane-fired tankless unit that provides all the hot water for its three showers; the truck actually hooks up directly to a fire hydrant for its water supply. It’s a neat setup.
So we ran the story, posted it online, and that was that. Another issue out the door.
And then I got an email.
“I noticed a story in the magazine posted on LinkedIn and wanted to contact the writer Tony Bara,” it began. “I have a product that I would like to donate to assist that project...”
The email was from Lyn Kirk, Australian inventor of the EzyDrain — a spring-loaded one-way trap mechanism that, when inserted into a floor drain, allows water to drain out while preventing dropped items (like jewelry) from being lost down the drain. The mechanism also keeps bugs, wastewater, suds and smells from backing up and making a mess. You can visit www.ezydrain.com to learn more.
She simply wanted me to connect her with Tony and Paul at ShowerUp. “Possibly I can contribute my support to that cause,” she continued. “I am not wealthy but would like to help.”
So I forwarded the email to Tony, who forwarded it to Paul. Not even a day later, Lyn emails me again to tell me she’s connected with Paul and ShowerUp. She hopes she can help, she says. She thanked me again. She made it clear she wasn’t looking for recognition — she just wanted to make a difference.
Well, too bad, Lyn: I’m giving you, Tony and Paul all a hearty and very public pat on the back. You’re doing wonderful things, and you should be proud.
But this is just one of several selfless acts I’ve witnesses plumbing professionals perpetrate in recent weeks. In October, we ran a story about how plumbing and mechanical organizations and companies stepped up to help others during the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. I heard reports of contractors using their own boats to rescue people from flood waters. TDIndustries donated food, water, toiletries, diapers, baby formula and more to flood victims. Employees volunteered their time.
PHCC activated its disaster relief fund, and people stepped up to donate. MCAA and the UA, and many other organizations, did the same. Zekelman Industries doubled donations made to the American Red Cross. When the going got tough, the tough really got going.
This is all on top of the fact that nearly every event I’ve attended over the past couple months has included a fundraiser to help people just entering the trades — including veteran-centric organizations like Troops to Trades. We’re talking many hundreds of thousands of dollars raised just this year alone for the next generation of PHC technicians.
I know I've only just scratched the surface, and I apologize for all the charitable ventures I don't have room to include in this editorial. The generosity of this industry really is breathtaking at times — I can’t wait to see what you do next.