Bill and Harriett Klemm, of Manawa, will have a new furnace this year thanks to Lennox Industries and Sunshine Heating & Air Conditioning of Waupaca.
Lennox, a provider of home heating and cooling products, worked with its dealers in October to provide 72 gas furnaces to families throughout Wisconsin.
One family was selected in each of the state’s counties to have a new furnace installed in October 2010.
Lennox donated the high-efficiency, Energy Star-rated furnaces. The local Wisconsin dealers donated their trucks and supplies, and their employees donated their time and skills to install each furnace for a family in their county.
The Heat Up Wisconsin campaign encouraged residents to nominate friends, family and neighbors who could use a helping hand to keep their homes warm. Winners were determined based on the level of their economic hardship and the circumstances surrounding it.
Nancy Rasmussen, of Manawa, had submitted her story about the Klemms to Lennox:
“Bill has been the barber in Manawa for nearly 40 years, taking over the shop for his dad. Harriett has worked odd jobs then worked for the local doctor in town and finally retired to take care of grandchildren. Both of these people have time after time taught us that money isn’t everything and God will take care of us regardless.”
Bill Klemm had his first heart surgery at least 20 years ago. He had no health insurance and the Klemms finally paid off that hospital bill last year. In addition, Harriett Klemm is a longtime cancer survivor.
“Many people advised them to file bankruptcy, but they would not. They did finally get some health insurance so that the many surgeries for Bill and Harriett since then have been less burdensome financially,” according to Rasmussen. “Harriett and Bill have hearts of gold. Their lives are spent in service to others.”
Rasmussen said Harriett is referred to as “Ma” on the fire department where she still handles the secretary and treasurer job. She has worked as an emergency medical technician with the local ambulance service and continues to volunteer at their church.
The Klemms’ furnace was 30 years old and they were not certain it would make it through the winter. The old oil furnace was so inefficient that the Klemms relied on small electric heaters to keep their house warm.
On Saturday, Oct. 16, Sunshine Heating and Air Conditioning installed a new high-efficiency gas furnace. The new furnace is rated at 92 percent. The old furnace was about 55 percent to 60 percent efficiency.
Their savings with the new furnace will be approximately 40 percent of what they were spending.
If the Klemms were to purchase a new furnace to be installed, it would cost about $3,000.