During the winter months we are thankful for a warm place to come home to.
Soundview resident Milagros Orizal was $9,000 away from having that luxury until she was selected for some huge generosity.
Thanks to a charitable act from the National Association of Oil & Energy Service Professionals, Orizal received a free boiler and a few young apprentices got a valuable learning experience as well.
In December, Orizal discovered her boiler was leaking and learned she needed to purchase a replacement.
“With what money?,” she asked.
Pete Gonzalez, a member of the New York City chapter of OESP, had worked on Orizal’s boiler in the past.
Orizal reached out to Gonzalez.
According to Gonzalez, he thought the homeowner would be an ideal candidate for a grant from the Oil Heat Cares Foundation – the charity arm of OESP – and encouraged her to apply.
“As soon as I read the Orizal family’s grant application, I knew it was another perfect opportunity for Oil Heat Cares to step in,” said Gonzalez, a vocational instructor at Bronx Design and Construction Academy High School. “This is an opportunity to literally give a family their home back at the beginning of winter.”
Orizal said she had been living in the house for 37 years and had always had the same boiler.
“I feel like I won the Lottery,” Orizal said of learning her application had been selected.
She also said she was fearful of having no heat in the house and having the water pipes freeze over.
“I’m so happy,” she added. “I never thought things like this happen to people like me.”
Gonzalez, who also runs his own heating company, arrived at Orizal’s home with three students from the high school.
The high school seniors – Tyrese Jordan, Joshua Diaz and Justin Gonzalez – installed Orizal’s boiler and were graded on the work once it was finished.
“It feels good because you’re able to help someone that needs heat,” said Diaz.
Jordan appreciated the chance to see the progress of the boiler as he and his classmates worked on its installation.
“When we came here and started it was just a boiler,” he said. “And now when you look at it and see all the piping and everything I said, ‘Wow, we did that.’”
Angel Gonzalez, the vice president of the New York City chapter of OESP, called the installation a “great experience.”
“We have a couple of different things going on here,” Angel said. “We’re giving back to the students – they’re gaining education here and they’re gaining field experience.”
“And at the same time we’ve given to a needy family,” he continued. “So we’ve got two different things going on here which is a really great experience.”
The students began the job on Wednesday, January 4 and finished the work on Friday, January 6.
In addition, to the boiler, the group also installed a brand new water heater next to the boiler.
“I want to say thank you so much for what Angel and Pete Gonzalez have done for my family,” said Orizal. “Without them I didn’t know what I was going to do.”