ARLINGTON, Va. - The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) has declared October national "Heat the Country" month as ACCA and many of the organization's state and local chapters fan out to help the elderly, disabled, and low-income families by checking and servicing their heating systems.

During Heat the Country, contractors donate time and materials to repair or replace heating systems in their local communities. The chapters work with public and private social service organizations to identify families who need help.

Last year, 631 volunteers from 12 chapters worked on 788 homes, which included replacing 44 units. In its first year, the project won the American Society of Association Executives "Associations Advance America" Award of Excellence. This award recognizes associations for innovative projects in education, skills training, standards setting, business and social innovation, knowledge creation, citizenship, and community service.

"It is a sad fact that some people can't afford necessary heating system maintenance during the winter and sometimes turn to dangerous and life-threatening ways to keep their homes warm," said Greg Leisgang, 2005-2006 ACCA chairman. "We're very proud of our members for their participation in this worthwhile endeavor. Most of our members are locally-owned and community-based businesses. They are taking care of their neighbors."

Among the ACCA chapters participating are: Akron Canton, Austin, Central Indiana, Central Maryland, Central Ohio, Coastal Bend, Delaware Valley, Florida, Greater Cincinnati, Greater Cleveland, Greater Louisville, Greater Dayton, Greater Houston, Green Country, Kansas City, Mobile, National Capital, North Texas, Northeast Ohio, Oregon, San Antonio, and Southeast Michigan.

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Publication date: 09/05/2005