Since its inception in 2004, Oil Heat Cares — a not-for-profit foundation — has helped people and organizations in need with the replacement of their oil heating appliances. Funds are raised to purchase heating equipment, and National Association of Oil and Energy Service Professionals (OESP) chapters, members and other Oil Heat partners identify those within their neighborhoods that need a temporary helping hand and install the heating equipment at no cost to the homeowner. OHC averages about 12 projects a year.
“Oil Heat Cares is such a special charity,” says Dave Bessette, chairman of Oil Heat Cares and service manager of Dedham, Massachusetts-based CK Smith Superior. “It helps so many people in need each year and we are thankful for the support we receive from our chapters and from the entire industry.”
Every year, OESP hosts the Oil Heat Cares Ride fundraiser to raise money for OHC. The spring 2018 “Care to Ride” event took place in Mashantucket, Connecticut, and raised more than $20,000 for the charity. The 2019 Care to Ride will take place on Monday, May 20, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, during the annual Eastern Energy Expo Convention, which will be held at the Hershey Lodge & Convention Center May 19-22.
Second chance for flood victims
John and Judith Morgan of Fairfield, Connecticut, married 31 years, were victims of a flash flood from torrential rains in late September.
A wall of water broke through a basement window and gushed up through the clothes washer drain, also in the basement, depositing nearly five feet of water into their finished basement. All their belongings were destroyed, including the boiler, hot water heater, freezer, spare refrigerator, washer, dryer and oil tanks.
Simultaneous to this horrible flood, Judith Morgan was diagnosed with breast cancer.
After more than 10,000 gallons of water were pumped out, the Morgans were left with no heat or hot water as they grappled with Judith’s illness.
“We were not eligible for flood insurance because we are not considered in a flood zone, and our home insurance does not cover the kind of disaster we endured,” John Morgan says. “Our resources were already strapped from the water removal, electrical work, removal of ruined belongings, dumpsters and demolition.”
OHC stepped in and provided the labor and material while Mark Santangelo of System 2000 provided a new boiler and new hot water tank for the Morgans. Marty Briganti of Standard Oil of Connecticut spearheaded the effort.
Caring for the elderly
Katherine Burk, 95, lives in the home that she and her husband lived in all their lives, in Catonsville, Maryland. Last year, Burk had hip replacement surgery. This was further complicated by other health issues over the winter, so when she was told she needed a new boiler, she felt overwhelmed.
“She cried on my technician’s shoulder,” OESP National President Ralph Adams says. “We were at her house checking her failing equipment and she just broke down in tears.”
There was no way Burk could afford a new boiler, so she was hoping to take out a loan to pay for it. OHC stepped in to help. John D’Angelo and Kody Foster from Parker Fuel Company helped Glen Robinson and one of his employees from Warthen Fuel install the boiler.
RW Beckett provided a discount on the burner while RE Michel discounted the boiler and piping kit. Warthen Fuel donated an automatic water feeder and both Parker and Warthen provided the remaining small parts and all the necessary labor at no cost.
Helping a cancer patient
Roy Kuczera of Service Professionals in Union, New Jersey, led the team to replace a boiler for Pamela Merola, a 49-year-old single mother of three boys and one dog. Kuczera reached out to Sid Harvey’s, a corporate member of OESP, for assistance, and it made the introduction to OHC.
Merola is an artist, a jewelry maker and has served many patients as a physical therapist assistant for the past 12 years. She has become close to the people she serves, counseling them through their tough journeys and always lending an empathetic ear, dispensing hugs as necessary.
Two years ago, Merola was diagnosed with advanced, stage 4 melanoma, which spread to lymph nodes throughout her body. With all of the medical treatments she required to fight such an aggressive cancer, she could not work.
Last year, Service Professionals ran a Breast Cancer Awareness charity program in conjunction with “Mary’s Place by the Sea,” a respite home for women who are receiving treatment for cancer. Merola was selected as a very deserving recipient of a new furnace, after struggling with an unheated home for two years.
Because Merola’s house is 300 years old, it required an oil-fired steam boiler, which could not be provided by the company working with Mary’s Place. So OHC stepped in and covered the cost of a Sid Harvey’s oil-fired steam boiler, including a Beckett Burner. With labor provided by Service Professionals, Merola and her family now have a warm house and were able to make it through the four nor’easters in their very old home.
Editor’s Note: Nicole Krawcke contributed to this report.