Dave’s Services warms space, hearts of local organization

TROY — The recipient of a free furnace installation from Dave’s Services is a little different this year.

“Usually we do (the installation) for somebody’s home — this year we did it for Reading for Change,” Dave’s Services employee Jim Morlan said. “A big point to it was, I want to make sure people around here are hearing about this place. What they do for kids is amazing. We wanted to give back to a place that’s really giving back to the community, as well.”

Reading for Change is a non-profit organization in downtown Troy that currently operates Monday and Wednesday from 3 to 5:30 p.m. The organization offers free literacy tutoring for children in first through fourth grades with small group tutoring lead by retired and current teachers. Homework time and special programming is also offered through Reading for Change.

“We see grade cards go up, and as those grade cards go up, a lot of times we see confidence go up,” Reading for Change’s Executive Director Carianne Gaines said.

Dave’s Services has been doing free furnace installations for a family in need every year since 2013, as a thank-you to the loyalty the community has given to the business since it started in 1984, and as a means to give back to the local community. In addition to the free furnace installation, they have started the HIGH program, which stands for Helping Individuals Get Heat. While the HIGH program is funded through donations, the free furnace installations come directly from Dave’s Services.

“When you’re doing this for a long time, you see a lot of different things around you. You’re dealing with a lot of different customers, and you will see the situations at hand. That’s kind of what we started seeing, and one day, we just had a conversation, and started thinking on it, and that’s how we came up with it,” Morlan said. “If we’re seeing all these people around us in need, they being customers of ours — how can we look to give back to the community that’s built us to where we are?”

Dave’s Services discovered Reading for Change through a customer who helps out with the organization. According to Morlan, Dave ended up doing work for the organization and liked what he saw Reading for Change doing, and when they found out about the problem Reading for Change was having with their heating units, they knew they had found their recipient for this year’s free furnace installation.

“I was shocked because it’s a huge deal,” Gaines said. “I didn’t even think of a furnace being donated as a possibility just because it is such a huge expense and the labor with it — that’s just a really big deal.”

According to Gaines, Dave’s Services does yearly inspections of Reading for Change’s facilities free of charge. This year, they were informed that their furnace unit was in need of replacement, and Gaines notified the landlord and looked into options for replacing it. When Dave’s Services informed Gaines that they would be donating a furnace unit and installing it for free, she said that she nearly cried.

“This year has been crazy and there has been a lot of unexpected things we didn’t plan for in our budget, like a COVID shutdown and just making sure that our kids have food and all the things that they need. It was a huge blessing and a surprise. We are just absolutely blown away by their generosity,” Gaines said. “It’s just a huge blessing to know that we have a safe, warm building for our precious kids.”