Stories of good deeds in Dayton

Yesterday at the market, my good friend Rahn Keucher of Rahn’s Artisan Breads told me a good Samaritan story and asked for my help in finding out who gave him the fire extinguisher. (And note- if you haven’t had his bread- you are missing out on one of the great things we have in Dayton that you can’t get elsewhere).

He was driving his Econoline- with 350K miles on 675 N when smoke starting coming out of the hood- he pulled off on N. Fairfield and coasted to the BP Station. Just as he opened the hood- ready to prop it open- flames shot out- and someone started spraying it with an extinguisher from over his shoulder. The fire out- they said “Rahn, I was following you on I 675 and thought you would need this- I followed you off- keep the extinguisher” and drove off. Still marveling at his melted engine block- Rahn seems to have suffered temporary amnesia and has no clue who knew him- and saved him from becoming a baked baker. If anyone has a clue- please drop me a line.

This morning I got the following e-mail from “Glad Girl” or Shelly- as we know her:

Hey Mr. E.
I have a friend at work (place removed) whose husband is a disabled vet.
He is not only disabled but dying with end stage COPD. He is also a patient in the (medical facility name removed) program. He and his wife live in West Carrolton and their AC went out. He is on O2 and they have no other family to go stay with.
One of our social workers was able to get one window unit for them but that’s not doing a very good job. Their van just broke down too.
I am writing you to see if you know of anyone in the vet community, maybe a vet who has an HVAC biz, that might be able to help the vet and his wife with this situation they are dealing with in this horrific heat?
They are both in their early 60’s. She is a nurse’s aide, which does not pay well.
They have adult children that are not equipped to help them either.
If you know of anyone please let me know.
Thanks much-

I happen to know a few people in the HVAC business- but, there is only one who I look forward to breaking bread with: Matt York of United Heating/Plumbing of Dayton. I’ve watched Matt go from running a huge HVAC company with his own sheet metal shop, through a divorce, to running calls solo. He works hard- and is as honest as they come. I forwarded him the note. He went out today to help the Veteran- and this is what he wrote back:

I went by (the Veteran’s) house today. The A/C worked when I turned it on (your car never acts up when your mechanic drives it), so I had to rely on (the Veteran’s) observations to make the diagnosis. (the Veteran’s) observations were quite clear, however. He reports that occasionally the outdoor unit will not come on at all. Since it is somewhat uncommon for both the fan and compressor (the 2 main components) to fail on an intermittent basis; and rare for both of them to fail like that on the same unit, and exceptionally rare for both of them to fail in unison, I surmise that it is/was a component that is common to both units and controls both the fan and compressor. In other words, I surmise the fan and compressor are good, but the component[s] that control them are not.

So, as a preventive measure I changed the 2 components that are common to both the fan and compressor. I also stripped away the wires and reconnected them. (sometimes a loose wire will cause this) At any rate, the A/C is working. (keep in mind it was working when I turned it on at the outset…..) (the Veteran’s wife) offered to pay, and I told them that their friends asked me to help and there was no charge.  Is it fixed? I think so. Time will tell, and over the next day or so we’ll know. If it’s not ok, I don’t know what else I can do. Which brings me to me second point…….

The average A/C unit lasts 15-20 years. This one is 31. Even if my repair works today, it’s way past time to plan for a new unit. Assuming the unit is now ok, I recommend changing this unit this fall, or early spring. (Sept/Oct or Mar/Apr) To help them we are willing to install a new A/C unit at cost. (assuming it’s done in those periods) What that means is that we will provide the equipment at cost (and we’ll show the invoices) or they can buy the equipment anywhere they can. (and we’ll tell what is needed). We’ll provide all the labor at cost as well; the employee’s wages and taxes. In short, we’ll install a system with *zero* markup of any kind. (even for overhead) They would simply pay the direct costs to install the system.

I know that’s probably not affordable at the moment, but it’s a place to start planning, and if there are friends/family/co-workers who can start a fund drive, we’ll do our part to help them.

I’ve asked Matt for a ballpark estimate of the equipment costs- and I’ll post a follow up. Then we’ll work on some kind of fundraiser to make this happen. In the meantime- if you have heating or cooling issues in Dayton- or need some plumbing work done, I highly recommend Matt at United Heating and Plumbing. Give them a try- and if you find them to be as top-notch as I believe them to be- write a nice review on their Google Places page.

For every story of how Dayton is losing population, losing jobs, and how we’ve lost our self-respect with our mindless self-loathing- we still seem to have kept some of the finest people around.

These are just two stories of why you should love Dayton.

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