Services 70 homes in St. Louis area in preparation for winter
By TIM ROWDEN
Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 562, along with the Mechanical Contractors Association serviced 70 homes in the St. Louis area on Oct. 8 as part of the 30th year for the “Heat’s On” program that has checked and serviced more than 11,000 homes since the program’s inception.
Some 300 Local 562 journeymen and apprentices turned out for the event, volunteering their Saturday morning to help those in need.
“The Heat’s On program is a very important program for our community, said John O’Mara, business manager of Local 562. “We are part of the community and it’s important for us to provide this service to those that may not have the means or ability to do it themselves.”
Each year, the Heat’s On program and hundreds of volunteers visit homes of elderly, less fortunate, and Local 562 retirees to service their furnaces, check fire alarms, and make sure the home owners are safe and ready for cold winter months.
“We have found some very unsafe condition, and we know by fixing those problems we are making a difference in the community,” said O’Mara.
Since it began in 1986, the Heat’s On program has serviced over 11,000 homes, utilizing more than 7,500 volunteers and a cost of more than $6 million in labor and material. There is a 34-point inspection that takes place at each home covering the furnace, flue and chimney. In addition, service techs inspected thermostats, smoke detectors, and performed an overall inspection of the homes. The service techs repair anything they could at the time of the visit.
Journeyman Gary Pellman and apprentice Brian Nicollerat visited the home of retiree Gene and Trudy Marshall in Maryland Heights, where they checked and serviced the furnace and hot water heater and checked the smoke detectors and replaced the batteries to make sure they were ready for winter.
“It’s a sense of security,” Trudy Marshall said. “It’s also really nice in that it keeps us connected to the union. We’re all still a brotherhood.”
Working through the inspection checklist, Pellman said, “We got out to help as many people as we can. It makes a guy feel good to help somebody.”
Nicollerat, a second-year apprentice, said, “It’s good to give back to the community and help your past union brothers. It’s just the right thing to do.”