Oil Heat Cares, a not-for-profit foundation, assists needy persons and organizations with the replacement of their oil heating appliances with help from oil companies, contractors and individuals who make monetary donations to OHC. OESP chapters are also major supporters of Oil Heat Cares and often volunteer their time to help with various projects.
Every year, OESP hosts the Oil Heat Cares Ride fundraiser to raise money for OHC. The Spring 2017 “Care to Ride” event took place May 22, 2017, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and raised $23,000 for the charity.
“We are very proud of our members and their families who, without the generous help of sponsors, raised $23,000,” OESP President Ralph Adams said in a press release. “We are grateful to those who spent a wonderful day in Hershey with us raising money for this very important cause.”
This year’s fundraiser will be held during the Eastern Energy Expo Convention and Trade Show May 20-23 at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut. The event has motorcycle riders, bicyclists, runners and walkers all on different courses. Each participate secure pledges for their concerted effort in the event.
Here is a closer look at three of Oil Heat Cares’ top projects from 2017.
Spreading holiday cheer
OHC and Thomaston Oil Co. of Thomaston, Connecticut, were able to help a struggling local family warm up this past holiday season.
David Mathews and his wife had been without heat for two years. They couldn’t afford a new boiler because of mounting medical bills for treatment of his throat cancer.
Mathews said he applied to 10 different programs to get help, but was repeatedly denied. For the last two years, he and his wife had to boil water to take sponge baths and used kerosene heaters to keep warm.
Mathews was desperate and thought he had reached a dead end. But then he met Mike Pinette of Thomaston Oil. Pinette heard about Mathews’ broken boiler and promptly contacted New Haven OESP chapter president Dan Gentile.
Gentile completed the Oil Heat Cares application on Mathews’ behalf and quickly obtained approval. The process began on a Tuesday, and the team installed a new boiler by Thursday. Oil Heat Cares purchased the equipment, and Pinette and his team provided the labor.
“It feels great to see that they are happy,” Pinette says. “It’s wonderful to know that they are going to stay in that house and they’re going to be warm this winter through the holiday season.”
“It was an emotional moment; it felt great to take the burden off their shoulders,” Gentile adds. “The boiler was an early Christmas present for them, and they were very happy and emotional when they received it.”
Helping a loyal customer
Joan Cain is a widowed grandmother living on a fixed income. She resides in Waterbury, Connecticut, where she raised her children and now grandchildren, who still live with her as she continues to support them.
Earlier this year, Cain reported to OESP member Dave Sousa of J&A Waterville Oil Service that her boiler would no longer hold water. Sousa found a leaking Peerless JOTW, which Cain could not afford to replace.
Cain is known to others as being fiercely loyal — both to her family and friends. In fact, she has remained a faithful customer of J&A Waterville Oil Service for more than 50 years.
“She is someone we should all be inspired by,” Sousa said. “Whenever she asks for help, I am ready, willing and up to the challenge.
“Because she uses the boiler only for heat, we had a little bit of time to help her out. We were able to complete the installation with plenty of time to spare before heating season began.”
Working with Oil Heat Cares, Sousa and his team donated all the labor, electrical wiring, thermostats and other items to complete the project. Carlin Hydrolevel donated the burner, and F. Perelli & Sons provided the zone control panel.
‘Perfect Timing’ for a patient in need
The New Haven Chapter helped William Casey of Hamden, Connecticut, last year with a vital Oil Heat Cares installation. He received a brand new boiler and indirect water heater, new circulators and new zone valves.
About two years ago, Casey was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He was being treated and was responding well. But after about a year, he went for another scan and found the cancer had spread to his brain. He was then being treated for both.
“He has a phenomenal will to live,” George Perrelli said. “I don’t know how he does it, but he is an amazing guy.”
Casey is registered as a long-standing customer of Perrelli Fuel, but Perrelli said he had not been in the customer’s house in 28 years.
“When he called with the problem, we checked the records and found that no one here had serviced the house in four years, and I didn’t understand why,” Perrelli said. “But then I realized when I went to the house and spoke to William that it was due to his illness. The medical bills had piled up and finances became difficult. My wheels were already turning and I knew he was a perfect candidate for the type of assistance that Oil Heat Cares provides.”
QHT, FIA, F.W. Webb, Webstone Valves, Walter Morris Co., Carlin/Hydrolevel and Taco donated the items needed for the installation. Perrelli’s son, Nicholas Perrelli, spent the entire day on the job. Ed Ryan Sr., Ed Ryan Jr., and Antonio Vallati from Ryan Oil also donated their services to the installation.
After the installation, Casey wrote a letter of thanks to Oil Heat Cares: “We would like to thank George Perrelli [Perrelli Fuel] and the Oil Heat Cares organization for their extremely generous donation and installation of a much-needed new furnace system. It could not have come at a better time.”
Editor’s Note: Nadia Askar and Jen Anesi-Brombach contributed to this report.