Project Heat’s On: Volunteers service and repair furnaces in homes of veterans

Published: Oct. 16, 2021 at 7:14 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -In its 18th year, Over 30 service technicians from Western and Central Wisconsin gathered Saturday morning for Project Heat’s On. The project is geared toward helping veterans keeping their homes heated during the cold month.

All the volunteers are members of UA Local 434

“Local 434 are plumbers, steamfitters, and HVAC techs. We have over 100 contractors,” UA Local 434 Assistant Business Manager, Russell Boos said.

Boos says over 34 homes of veterans in Eau Claire and Dunn County received free servicing ahead of the upcoming winter.

“We contacted the veteran’s services and they gave us homes that are needed for service,” Boos said. “We already have a couple of them that are not working.”

To make sure the furnaces are ready for winter, volunteer service tech Tyler Crotteau says checking the system for cracks, clean air filters and more is important.

“Making sure the gas pressure is right so we get the right combustion that we need so we don’t clog the heat exchange or anything from low gas pressure or high carbon or anything like that,” Crotteau said.

Crotteau says being able to help veterans hits close to home.

“My fiancé is a veteran. Actually, she’s a Master Sergeant in the Air Force,”

Crotteau enjoys using his skills to lend a helping hand.

“I feel like every veteran needs some help and good courtesy sometimes,” Crotteau said.

Not only service techs like Crotteau donated their time, but several other businesses and groups also helped make Project Heat’s On possible.

“Bartingale, Ahern, Certified, Zone Mechanical, Siemens,” Boos said. “That’s just some of the contractors in the area that donating their trucks and tools.”

This year is the second time veteran Robert Hevey had volunteers come to his house and service his furnace.

“I commend all of these guys for volunteering,” Hevey said. “They’re doing a great service to the veterans.”

Hevey says Project Heat’s On is a great operation and he is appreciative of all their hard work.

“I really respect what they do and some of these gentlemen are veterans themselves that are out volunteering,” Hevey said. “So, I pat them on the back.”

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