Lori Meek and family

On Saturday, October 7th, Lori Meek and her family were one of over 175 households to receive a brand new, high-efficiency Lennox furnace through the Heat UP Alberta program.

The program, which started in Wisconsin and expanded into Western Canada for the first time this year, calls on community members to nominate deserving local families in need of a new furnace. Lennox Industries donates the furnace and sponsors Honeywell who donates the thermostat. Local Lennox heating contractors, like First Call Heating & Air Conditioning, donate all installation materials and staff volunteer their time to install the furnace.

Inspirational Sherwood Park family of 7 very deserving of new furnace

As a single mom of six children, Lori Meek’s days are hectic, but happy. It’s her can-do attitude that gets her through life’s tough moments and gives her the strength to pursue a bright future for herself and her family. She is currently taking courses at the University of Alberta with plans to complete her Bachelor of Arts or possibly transfer to Education or Nursing in the future.

When Lori’s mom, Loretta, passed away in January, the family was left with a decision to make regarding the family home—which was also home to an after-school program for local kids that Loretta operated for 47 years—located in one of Sherwood Park’s original neighbourhoods.

To alleviate some of the financial burden while Lori is in school, her family suggested that she and the kids could move into the family home and live there while she completes her studies. Living in the home brings back a lot of memories for Lori and is a huge financial help while she pursues her post-secondary education. “It’s nice to be here and have the spirit of [my mom’s] home. My kids always felt really loved by her,” Lori explains.

However, as the home is over 50 years old, it is not without its issues, one of which was the original furnace that needed replacing. Lori’s aunt and uncle heard about the Heat UP Alberta Giveaway and submitted a nomination on her behalf. When asked what it means to be able to live comfortably in her family home while she goes to school, Lori had this to say: “It’s awesome. Now I don’t have to worry in the back of my mind that the furnace could just go any day. It’s a load off my mind.”

Lennox Heat UP program: Over 550 furnaces installed for families in need since 2009

“First Call was instantly on board,” explains First Call co-founder Dave Stanley-Smith. “We heard about this event last February as Lennox has been running it since 2009 in the U.S. and has installed over 550 furnaces with the help of local Lennox independent dealers. We thought this was an amazing event and wanted to be part of it when we heard Lennox was bringing it to Western Canada.”

Strengthening the community by being a good neighbour

“Neighbours helping neighbours”—the motto for the Heat UP Alberta program—is something that really resonates with the First Call team. Whether it’s supporting local Sherwood Park sports teams and charities or delivering gifts for the Christmas Bureau, working together to uplift the community is the best way we know how to give back to the community that supports us.

In addition to the nine First Call team members who helped execute this project from start to finish, Kyra Webb from Famoso Pizzeria in Sherwood Park enthusiastically donated lunch for the volunteers and family members on install day. It was an exciting day for everyone involved and the actual work of completing the furnace install was smooth and uneventful.

Lori explained that install day “… felt like a big community event day. All the staff who came to help install the new furnace were so nice, with big smiles. And I was thinking: ‘What are you guys doing here on your Thanksgiving weekend?’”, Lori recalls with a laugh. “I was just amazed—it felt awesome to be cared for by your community.”

The entire team was thrilled that their involvement in the Heat UP program meant they could give the deserving Meek family some peace of mind, knowing they’ll be safe and warm this winter. First Call looks forward to being involved in Heat UP for years to come!

Do you know a deserving family who could use some help replacing their home’s furnace? Nominate someone or contact First Call to learn more about the Lennox Heat UP program.

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