FAIRVIEW, Texas — The Joseph S. Groh Foundation joined forces with GW Berkheimer and Just in Time Heating and Air Conditioning of Sandwich, Illinois, to help a former union ironworker who was paralyzed after a bicycle accident.

Richard Sakalas of Crest Hill, Illinois, (near Chicago) was paralyzed while riding his mountain bike in the Palos Forest Preserves in June 2018, one month before his retirement. Rick was a member of Ironworkers Local 1, and during his career worked on a number of signature projects. Some of these included the First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana; Salem Baptist Church in Chicago; and the University of Chicago Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine building in Chicago.

GW Berkheimer provided an Armstrong Air 80% AFUE furnace, and a 16-SEER air conditioning system to replace Rick’s 25-year-old system. Just-In-Time Heating and Air Conditioning of Sandwich, Illinois, donated its labor to install the system. Meanwhile, the Joseph S. Groh Foundation provided funding toward a remodel that combined two smaller bedrooms into a larger one, while adding an accessible bathroom. Richard’s wife Debi was diagnosed with cancer in 2019, so the assistance provided by these two projects helps them afford outside caregivers, which are not covered by insurance.

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