Heat for Heroes is a program of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago and the service technicians of Pipefitters Local 597. They donate their time and materials to repair home heating or cooling systems for eligible military personnel.
WhenKerry Jamestried to fire up her 35-year-old
furnace last fall, it let her know its time had come.
has four small children and a husband several hours away. He’s awaiting
deployment to Germany with the Illinois Air National Guard. She knew it was up
to her to get the problem fixed - fast.
is where Heat for Heroes came in.
program is an effort of theMechanical Contractors Association of Chicago,
along with the members of Local 597. The mission is to offer free repair or
replacement of furnaces for families of active-duty military men and women.
was scared when this happened,” she said. “I have young children that I’m
totally responsible for when Kevin is gone. I wasn’t expecting this to be so
easy and really don’t know what I would have done without them.”
scenario is exactly why Heat for Heroes exists, saidStephen Lamb,
executive vice president of MCA Chicago. Approximately 20 contractors are
signed on to help.
are thankful for the sacrifice our military men and women, and their families,
make for our country,” Lamb said. “We believe everyone should use their skills
and abilities to help others. Our contractors are the best in the heating,
ventilation and air conditioning arena. We are honored to put those skills to
work for these families.”
start the process for the James family, Kerry James contacted her husband’s
supervisor. Chief Master SergeantTim Penwellput
James in touch withAmy Quimby, airmen and family
readiness program manager in Peoria, where James’ husband is stationed. Quimby
knew the right people to help James out.
Mechanical of Franklin Park, Ill., arrived at James’ home the same day. Service
technicians examined the furnace to determine next steps for getting it back up
and running for the family.
furnace was 35 years old and, frankly, it just didn’t make sense to repair it,”
saidJohn O’Brien, general service supervisor at
Hill. “So we put in a new furnace. We could have fixed it but it would mean
pouring more money into it down the road. The new furnace is great for
them as it’s higher efficiency and will last them a long time.”
Mechanical donated the furnace, as well as all the parts and labor involved.
happy to do our part for this program,” O’Brien said. “These military folks take
care of our country and we’re happy to give back."
Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago is proud of its Heat for Heroes
program. “Our contractors here in Chicago did not hesitate to get involved when
approached to be a part of the program,” Lamb said.