Retired Greenfield, Mass. homeowner Bob Murphy needed a new boiler, but he was caught in a financial situation where he couldn’t afford to replace his old one. Murphy then heard of the Oil Heat Cares program, a not-for-profit foundation (501C-3) that assists needy persons and organizations with the replacement of their oil heating appliances and is the brain child of the National Association of Oil Heating Service Managers.
Murphy decided to send a letter of interest to George Milton, service manager of Mackin Construction and Fuel, Greenfield, Mass.
Oil Heat Cares projects can be initiated by any of NAOHSM’s 30 chapters located throughout the Northeast U.S. or by any individual members. Thus, the plumbing and HVAC students at the Franklin County Technical School partnered with Mackin, on the initiative of Milton, a devoted, long-time member of NAOHSM, and a believer in the principles underlying the Oil Heat Cares program.
“I am so fortunate,” summed up Murphy as his new Weil McLain steam boiler was being installed by a regional contractor and high school students from the Franklin County Technical School, Turners Falls, Mass., as a part of Oil Heat Cares.
“It was a perfect way for us to end the year with the students,” pointed out HVAC instructor John Hicks. “For them to see success just as it is in the field was very valuable.”
In addition to project work in their shop, Mr. Hicks’ students occasionally get to perform off-site work and undertake mostly new-construction residential projects. He undertook the task of replacing the boiler and the piping after the heating season had concluded, but before the last days of June.
Additionally, Mackin provided technicians to safely remove the old boiler and hoist in the new Weil-McLain boiler and indirect water heater. Upgraded piping and set-up was done jointly by Mackin’s (contracted) plumber and the students.
“The authenticity is what we’re always hungry for our students to experience—it’s the ethos of our school,” explained John Carey, the director of curriculum and instruction for the technical high school. When he received the phone call from Mr. Milton over the winter, he jumped at the chance to get such a project underway. “The students got a firm grasp of exactly what was happening during that week. They learned who the contributors to the cause were, whom they were helping, and why an ethic of service is so important to learn.”
George Milton can easily see this point and wholeheartedly supports it and the school. “It was great to see it all work out so well,” concluded Mr. Milton. “This was my first time working with students and hopefully not the last. I’d certainly like to do one of these a year, at the least.” l FON