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Heating & cooling group members bring Christmas cheer to disabled couple

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It all began with a phone call from WXYZ-Channel 7 and ended with a happy couple feeling the warmth from their new furnace.

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In between, the story went like this:

Debby and Dan Taylor of Hartland had a broken furnace. It couldn’t be repaired and the Taylors could not afford the thousands of dollars it would cost to replace it. This was bad news for them because both are in wheelchairs. Each has had a leg amputated because of diabetes and Dan had recently suffered a stroke. They were in desperate need of help.

The Taylors called Channel 7. The people at the TV station were aware of the generosity of the Southeast Michigan Chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (SEMIACCA) because of stories they had aired in the past on SEMIACCA’s yearly program of servicing furnaces of elderly homeowners for free.

Channel 7 called me (SEMIACCA Chapter Executive) and I put a request out to our members and associates for help. The response was swift. One of our members – First Choice Heating of Fenton – went out to inspect the furnace and determined that it needed to be replaced. They offered to donate the labor and parts if we could also find a supplier to donate a furnace or sell us one at a reduced cost. Local heating & cooling supplier and SEMIACCA associate member Williams Distributing went all in – donating the special furnace designed for mobile homes. Williams’ Greg Bickley orchestrated the paperwork.

And so with the video running, First Choice’s Jeff Reynolds removed the old furnace and installed the new one. Sales representative Jack Regis spoke with Channel 7’s reporter Smita Kalokhe during the process. The installation took about seven hours to complete. An air conditioning unit was replaced so the Taylor’s can enjoy cooling relief when the hot weather returns next year.

Needless to say, the Taylors were excited and appreciative. They even invited Regis to come back and watch the newscast. The Taylors also invited other First Choice staffers to visit so they could thank them in person. They will have that opportunity as two follow-up visits and inspections are already planned.

The bottom line is that people in need were given a helping hand from a variety of people, companies, and their resources. While this type of help is needed throughout the year, it is especially rewarding during the Christmas holiday season.

Many thanks to Channel 7 and to SEMIACCA members First Choice Heating and Williams Distributing. For more information on SEMIACCA and its programs/members, visit

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