Needy Minnesota Families Awarded Free Furnaces
Just in time for the cooler weather, 40 families in Minnesota received new furnaces Saturday.
Lennox industries donated $100,000 worth of appliances and labor.
The needy recipients couldn't have been more thankful.
"It takes a couple seconds for the furnace to start heating up," said Mark Nayes to Marna Thompson, in the basement of her Bloomington home. Nayes works for Southside Heating and Air Conditioning.
It's been nearly two decades since Marna got a new furnace. "You guys have done terrific down here," she said to Mark.
If Marna had to pay full price for the heating upgrade Mark had just installed, it would have cost more than $3,000. And that would have been nearly impossible for her to scrape together.
"This has been a godsend," said Marna, a 79-year-old widow. She's lived in the same house since 1955 and raised five kids--two of them have recently returned to the nest to live with her again. One has health problems, another just divorced.
Until recently Marna worked for a greeting card company. "I was downsized, so I was out," she explained. She's been living solely off Social Security ever since. The last few years have been tough.
That's why Lennox stepped in. According to Mary Clark, a Lennox district manager, "It's neighbors helping neighbors."
Lennox recently asked people to nominate folks for the furnaces. There were hundreds of submissions. "We read them all and narrowed them down and made the final decision based on the circumstance and need of the family," Mary said.
Marna was recommended for a new furnace by Southside Heating and Air Conditioning employees. They'd been to her home this past summer, to give her an estimate on the installation of an air conditioner. Their bid wasn't selected--but they still nominated her.
"Whether we get the job or not, we try to do the right thing across the board for all of our customers," said Mark.
Even more good news--"my energy bill is going to go way down," Marta said.
By at least 30 bucks a month.
"And a rebate on top of it!" Marta exclaimed. "Wow!"
A chilly fall day suddenly got much warmer.
"This furnace should last another 20 to 25 years, just like the last one did," Mark told Marta.
"It's just a wonderful thing," Marta said.
Mark Saxenmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org