Bank robbers in the Portland, OR, area stole a little bit more than cash October 18. They stole the local press away from HOST Oregon.

A morning bank robbery wiped out coverage slated for Helping Our Seniors Together (HOST) Oregon. The group — fueled by state PHCC members — volunteered labor, parts and equipment for tune-ups and repairs to heat systems for low-income seniors in the Portland area. The project was spear-headed by PHCC member Tim Hodgson, owner of Larry and Chuck’s Heating.

“When I thought about the idea a couple year’s back, I didn’t see many people getting involved,” said Hodgson, who specializes in hydronic systems. “But a lot of people stepped up for the cause.”

Wholesalers supplied parts and equipment, while seven contractors provided materials, tools and labor. The contractors went to 23 houses, which were qualified by St. Vincent DePaul, Aging Services of Multnomah County and Adult and Family Services.

The organization performed close to $2,800 in service/repair work.

At day’s end, all participants and their families were treated to an evening cruise by Liberty Northwest Insurance.

On a similar note, the “Heat’s On” program in St. Louis, MO, and Milwaukee, WI, donated heating system inspections to hundreds of disabled and needy homeowners.

The Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA) of Eastern Missouri Inc. and the Pipefitters Local Union #562 helped those in the St. Louis area.

The two groups donated time, resources and materials valued at approximately $100 per house during this year’s program.

“Our goal this year was to again reach 600 homes,” said John Eilerman, president of MCA of Eastern Missouri. “We continue to do this because it helps the communities we live and work in.”

The cornerstone of “Safe Heat Week” in Milwaukee, Steamfitters Local 601 donated their time and skills for inspections of 120 elderly and disabled homeowners.

Contractor members of the Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association of Milwaukee (PMC) and the Mechanical Contractors Development Fund (MCDF) contributed the use of their tools and more than 40 service trucks to the effort. Miller Brewing Company served as a corporate sponsor for the local program.

The “Heat’s On” program, in its 11th year, is sponsored nationally in 31 cities by the Mechanical Service Contractors Association. The program provides an estimated $1 million in annual service to local recipients.