Holiday warmth for family

by Patrick Rocchio

One local Bronx family will definitely be feeling the warm glow of the holiday season.

Oil Heat Cares, a charitable-arm of the National Association of Oil & Energy Professionals, has reached out to help Amparo Amovar, 61, and her family heat their Zerega home. The group was there for her after Amovar was having a hard time paying for a new heating system to replace her 20-year-old highly inefficient one.

Angel Gonzalez, local coordinator for Oil Heat Cares, and Bob Bieder of Westchester Square Plumbing Supply worked together with oil heat service manufacturers who donated materials to get the Amovar family a new boiler and heating system.

It was installed at her Glebe Avenue home over two days, Tuesday, Dec. 3 through Wednesday, Dec. 4, by Pete Gonzalez and five students from the Bronx Design & Construction Academy, who donated their labor.

“My heating system was not heating the house enough,” said Amovar. “I was spending a lot of money on oil, which is very expensive, and the house was not warm.”

Angel Gonzalez was working at his job as a service manager when Amovar came to him asking him if she could purchase a used heating system.

The request sparked his interest as a project for Oil Heat Cares, which helps individuals and organizations in need across the metro area and the nation.

“Her fuel bills were astronomical and she just could not afford to heat her house anymore,” said Angel Gonzalez. The heating system the young people installed probably costs about $7000, he said.

The five students involved were Rafael Cuba, Raymond Ramsook, Ariel Reynoso, Kevin Ortega, and Ashley Medina. Their teacher, Pete Gonzalez, who also owns his own heating company, said that for many of the students it was their first time installing a boiler system outside of the school setting.

The students also worked together to create a heating report on the house – measuring the size of the house and factors that contribute to heat loss – so they could determine the right boiler size, he said.

The youths said that it gave them a sense of satisfaction to help someone in need while at the same time learning a valuable trade, he said.

“I take pride in my work, and I get to make a customer happy,” said Ramsook. “In this case, I helped a person in need.”

“I have installed boilers at school, but here we learned how to install one in a house,” said Cuba.

Bieder, who helped coordinate donations of equipment, said he has known Amovar for years as a neighbor and found her to be very deserving. In the past she has organized the Glebe Avenue annual summer block party, he said.

The merchants and donors included Westcast Boiler which donated a Smith Cast Iron Boiler; Carlin Burner which donated an oil burner; Hydro Levels which donated controls; White Rodgers which donated the thermostat; Pete Gonzalez Heating and Bronx Construction Academy and which donated labor; and Westchester Square Plumbing Supply which donated pipes and valves.

To learn more about this project, go to or call 888-552-0900.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3393

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