CHICAGO – Heat for Heroes, a program developed by the Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA) of Chicago and Pipefitters Local Union (LU) 597, assisted the families of active duty troops, whether deployed or at home, in staying warm last winter, free of charge. Working through Operation Homefront of Illinois, the service contractors who belong to MCA, and the HVAC service technicians from LU 597 who they employ, are providing free repair of home heating systems for Chicago-area military families in need.

“There is usually one parent left at home with one, if not several, children. When the furnace doesn’t work, this parent doesn’t have the time, money, or other resources to fix it,” said Glenda Cain, family assistance manager of Operation Homefront of Illinois. “All they know is their children are cold and their furnace doesn’t work.”

From her experience helping veteran families, Cain knows the majority of these families live paycheck to paycheck, and are sometimes too proud to ask for a handout. “Nor should they have to,” said Cain. “This is where Heat for Heroes comes in, and these families are eternally grateful.”

“All Americans have a responsibility to give back to the military families who sacrifice so much while their loved ones are protecting our country,” said Stephen Lamb, executive vice president of the MCA of Chicago, on behalf of the association’s contractors and the members of LU 597.

Once applications are received, they are immediately reviewed. Operation Homefront determines need and arranges for the services requested. When approved, participating MCA of Chicago contractors are contacted and will work with LU 597 volunteers to ensure that repairs are made quickly. For more information, visit

Publication date:04/12/2010