Furnace giveaway warms hearts of business' workers

  • Tom Wangler, owner of Confident Aire in Batavia, has installed a free furnace for people in need for each of the last eight years.

    Tom Wangler, owner of Confident Aire in Batavia, has installed a free furnace for people in need for each of the last eight years. Daily Herald file photo/2010

 
 
Posted10/4/2015 6:12 AM

Giving a furnace away for each of the last eight years to somebody facing difficulties has rewarded the giver as well.

Tom Wangler, owner of Confident Aire in Batavia, says his staff looks forward to the "Home Heating Makeover" each year.

 

"They love working here because they like giving back to the community," Wangler said.

And the project strengthens his team. Usually the staff is dispersed each day working on different calls. But for the giveaway, he brings the whole team together, to do as much as is possible for one day for the prize recipient.

Besides installing a new furnace (donated by the manufacturer), that includes assessing the quality of the air in the home. It could also include cleaning air ducts, putting in a filtration system and performing safety checks on other appliances.

In 2011 that included discovering and cleaning a dryer vent and the wall behind it so crammed with lint it was a miracle it hadn't ignited and burned the house down.

Wangler gets nominations from churches, clients, community groups and sometimes from an announcement in a newspaper.

"We're not looking so much for a family that's needy ... maybe (just) temporarily going through a hard time," he said.

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Last year's recipients were a married couple who had each suffered injuries (a broken hip, a broken shoulder) during the year. Plus they had taken in a relative who was suffering from brain cancer.

The 2008 winner was a Batavia family suffering from many medical problems. In 2007, it went to a Geneva family whose 14-year-old son had been battling cancer on and off for 10 years.

It shows that even though bad things may have happened to the recipient, "There still is good out there," Wangler said.

Wangler intends to continue the program this year, picking a winner around Thanksgiving Day. To nominate someone, visit confidentaire.com or call (630) 761-9007.

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