Families grateful for gift of warmth

Thursday, February 14th 2008, 6:29 pm
By: News 9


This week has been especially busy for the employees at Hardesty Team's One Hour Heat and Air. They weren't running routine service calls, though. They were on a mission to install three new heating units in just three days. But it wasn't for profit. It was for a very special cause.

Back in January, NEWS 9 teamed up with the Community Action Agency and Hardesty Team's One Hour Heat and Air for our "Heating Hearts for Winter" campaign. We asked NEWS 9 viewers to tell us about Oklahomans who were braving the winter with no heat in their homes. This week the gift of warmth was delivered.

The story starts a few weeks ago. Hardesty Team's Deryk Ruth stopped at three Oklahoma homes to deliver some special news - to announce to the homeowners they were to receive free central heating units.

His first stop was the home of W G Johnson.

As he knocked on the door Johnson's Oklahoma City home, he was greeted with a smile. This is a rough time of year for Johnson. His niece, Lorana Wilson said he lost his wife of 40 years just after Valentine's Day last year.

"A few days after that, the central heat and air went out," she said. "Someone told him that they could repair it, but they ended up destroying the entire unit."

To survive the winter he has been living with just a tiny gas unit to heat his entire home. But now, he's grateful for the gift of warmth, "To tell you the truth, it's exciting man, it's exciting."

Darlyne Gibson of Chickasha was in a similar situation. Do to a recent back injury she hasn't been able to return to work, which left her with no money to repair a faulty heating system.

"I kept trying to put back money, but an emergency would always come up," Gibson said.

Her unit was putting out dangerous carbon monoxide. With no source for heat, she stayed with her parents for several months. But with the gift from Hardesty Team's One Hour Heat and Air and the Community Action Agency, she now has a safe way to keep warm.

"This is just a God send. There's no doubt about it," she said.

In order to fulfill the American dream of home ownership, the Ambrizs had to buy the house "as is," which mean it had an old heating unit.

"It's 50 years old," Patricia Ambriz said.

Warmth was imperative for the Ambriz family. They have six children, ranging in age from seven to 15.

When Deryk stopped by the Ambriz's Bethany home, he was greeted with squeals of delight and thankfulness.

"The people that supported this contest and this program, I think it's wonderful," Patricia Ambriz said. "And it's really neat because sometimes it's not just the homeless that are in need it's people that work hard."