All-Star Profile: Paul Cuprewich, Woolley Fuel Co.

PM's Oil Heat Cares All-Star Paul Cuprewich, Woolley Fuel Co.


From Oil Heat Cares’ inception, Paul Cuprewich has generously donated his time and talents to the charity organization. PM names him this year’s OHC All-Star.

When did you first get involved with the Oil Heat Cares program?

Paul Cuprewich: My introduction into Oil Heat Cares occurred with the boiler replacement of a Woolley Fuel Co. customer. Woolley fuel is the company where I have worked for the past 23 years. This boiler replacement, which consisted of a new Peerless WBV-03 steam boiler and Beckett AFG oil burner, was performed in March of 2005.

What is the driving force for you in taking part in Oil Heat Cares?

Cuprewich: The driving force behind performing an OHC project would be the “natural high” you get from accomplishing one of these jobs. 

Sure, “time” is valuable and just about everyone “has no time,” but knowing that your time was well-spent and made a huge positive difference in someone else’s life makes it all well worth it.

To see their happy and relieved faces when the project is finished is just thrilling and gives you such a warm feeling.

What is the relationship between you and NAOHSM, and you and your suppliers in terms of getting projects signed-off or approved?

Cuprewich: The relationship is smooth and trouble-free. On a couple of projects, I have actually started them before getting the final OK from the OHC Committee and NAOHSM (Judy Garber). 

As quick as the e-mail flies between them is how quick I get my answers: “Go for it;” “I approve; Great cause;”“We are behind you and the funds will be accessible when needed.”

The supply houses are also very helpful. I have opened NAOHSM Oil Heat Cares accounts with a couple of them: W.A. Birdsall and Ridgewood Corp. All I have to do is order the material (at discount cost) and have them deliver it. The material goes on account, and they do not charge the account any late fees. 

Michael Murphy (owner of W.A. Birdsall) also assisted me with obtaining all donated materials from manufacturers for a recent OHC project.

How do you feel involvement in OHC has affected your life?

Cuprewich: Generally, donating your skills and especially time (which can never be given back) is one of the greatest privileges you can have. With OHC involvement, it is also a kind of payback and restitution.

I learned HVAC in high school and it has been my trade ever since (30 years this year). I met my wife Georgette while performing HVAC in her aunt’s home, and three children later, the oil industry is still supporting my family. 

Maybe I’m selfish, but giving back only makes me stronger.

Walk us through a typical OHC project from start to finish.

Cuprewich:A project is formed by another member of the Garden State Chapter or myself finding someone in need of a new boiler or repairs to their existing unit. 

From there, a “request for funds” form is sent to national (Judy at NAOHSM) and the OHC Committee reviews the request. Once accepted by the committee, we apply for permits and proceed with the installation. 

All material invoices are mailed to national after completion. A check is quickly sent out to pay for the materials only. No labor charges are ever sent. 

Finally, pictures are taken of the finished project and all the “happy faces.” A win-win situation for all.

Can you name one stand-out project that you felt really made a difference?

Cuprewich:All OHC projects touch your heart, but one was late in 2005 and consisted of a family of, I think, 11 who had no heat or hot water for many months. Plus their gas was shut off. 

We helped by converting them to oil and installing a new Weil-McLain steam boiler and two Roth Oil tanks in the basement.  Free oil was even delivered to them after the installation. Many happy faces followed.

Do you have any advice for your fellow contractors out there wondering how they, too, can help their community and customers?

Cuprewich: Try it, you really might like it. Donating your time does make a difference, and if more people do charity work for those less fortunate, the world would be a better place.