Marty's Message

No One Freezes When These 'Givers' Are Around

One company has fixed furnaces in 400+ homes for free, and they're about to do some more.


It was right before Christmas 2013. It was about two degree outside. The temperature dropped below zero when the wind blew. So cold it hurt. I spent the night in 85-year old Peggy's house. She lived in McKees Rocks, a neighborhood right outside of Pittsburgh. She had called me, told me her furnace was out.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I found when I arrived. Peggy was lying on a chair in front of the open door of her oven in the kitchen. It was her only source of heat. It was so cold the refrigerator broke. I'm serious. The ceiling was collapsed. There was no running water. Peggy refused to leave. But if I left her she could die.

I've never seen Bob Tudi (right) say no to someone in need.

I didn't call 911. Instead, I called Bob Tudi. Bob's business is headquartered in McKees Rocks, or "The Rocks" as people call it. Tudi Mechanical has been there for decades. Within two hours Bob had portable heaters in Peggy's house. Within 48 hours Bob had a new furnace installed. He also replaced plumbing and fixed collapsed walls and ceilings. Bob Tudi's grand gesture saved Peggys life. But don't try to give him credit. “I did what anyone else would do. I have great employees. I have the resources," says Bob.

Families apply for the furnaces and are selected based on need.

Truth is, what Bob did for Peggy he's done at least four hundred times. For nearly 20 years Tudi Mechanical has sponsored what they call their "Heat for the Needy" campaign. In the fall, people apply for help for themselves or others, and the company picks candidates who truly need it. Then in January Tudi Mechanical employees and their families volunteer on a Saturday to install free furnaces in as many homes as they can get to in a day.

This year 250 volunteers will gather at Tudi Mechanical before dawn. Sparkt will be there as well. We'll have breakfast. We'll hear the stories of the families receiving new furnaces. Then we'll hit the streets.

A volunteer army joining forces for a day with Tudi employees to install dozens of new furnaces across the region.

Tudi employees and their families give up their day to volunteer.

It's an amazing experience. In every home we hear a different story. See a lot of joy. And feel the warmth...when there's finally heat in homes where families have gone without it. I'm amazed by the kindness. I'm amazed by the commitment. I'm amazed by the gratitude and the volunteerism.

Here at Sparkt, we covet moments like this... when it all comes together... when hundreds of people band together to make a difference. Expect a lot more of it as we grow together. Soon..we will be asking you to help out. Stay tuned.

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