BURLINGTON, Mass. - Last fall, 10-year-old Lina learned that wishes really do come true. The Wish Child and her family enjoyed a trip to Disney World thanks to the generosity of the Boston branch of Luxaire Heating and Air Conditioning distributor ABCO Refrigeration Supply Corp. and its Boston-area dealers.

More than 150 children like Lina, who suffer from life-threatening medical conditions, have enjoyed wishes ranging from trips to Disney World and cruises, to swing sets and room makeovers, made possible by more than $1 million raised by Luxaire, a Johnson Controls Company, and its dealer-distributor network.

As part of a partnership between Luxaire and the Make-A-Wish Foundation®, Luxaire makes an annual contribution of $250,000 to the wish-granting organization.

"It's great to be affiliated with a company that has made such a big commitment," said Peter Donati, vice president of sales and marketing at ABCO's Boston location. "I wanted to take that commitment to the next level and actually grant a wish to a child in the Boston area. So, I met with the folks at Make-A-Wish and asked them how to go about doing this."

Following that meeting, Donati organized a group of contractors and encouraged each of them to help sponsor a specific wish by making a donation of $250. "The dealers' responses were fantastic," said Donati. "Everybody was eager to participate and asked me how they could get even more involved.

"In the end, their donations exceeded the amount of money required to grant a wish. Everybody stepped up to the plate and helped us to do something special for Lina and her family."

The 10-year-old, her parents, and her younger sister, began the trip with a limousine ride to the airport. After arriving in Orlando, she settled into a villa at Give Kids the World, a special village within Disney World that was built specifically for children with life-threatening medical conditions.

During her special week vacation, Lina enjoyed eating ice cream at the Ice Cream Palace, splashing in the giant pool, and experiencing many of the rides and attractions at Disney World. Together, Lina and her family escaped some of the stresses of her illness.

Buoyed by the good feelings associated with the fund-raising efforts of his dealers, Donati said he is inspired to help grant another wish to a second Boston-area child. "I decided that if I can make this work once, I can surely make it happen again. So I'm going to issue the challenge to our dealers at our next dealer meeting, and I feel confident that they'll step up to the plate again.

"There really is something special about giving back to the community that supports you, especially when you can do it in a way that benefits a child."

The Boston-area dealers that helped make Lina's wish come true include A&E Commercial Air Inc.; Advance Systems, Better Comfort Systems; Brennan Cooling & Heating; Burns Mechanical Corp.; C&S Refrigeration; Carlson HVAC LLC; Falite Bros. Inc.; Fleet Refrigeration; Heat Pump Specialists Inc.; Keyes North Atlantic; Key Heating & Air Conditioning; N.E.T.R.; New England Cooling Towers Inc.; Pinnacle Piping & Service Corp.; R. H. Northrop Corp.; SS Service Corp.; Total Temperature Control Inc.; United H.V.A.C. Co. Inc.; and U.S. Air Conditioning.

In addition to individual efforts like this one, Luxaire corporate contributions, which represent a portion of product sales and dealer fundraisers, support the work of Make-A-Wish chapters located in dealer markets across the country. The company also encourages homeowners to participate in the program by offering them the opportunity to donate all or a portion of their rebates during spring and fall promotions to their local chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Luxaire is a brand of York, a Johnson Controls Company. For more information, visit www.luxaire.com or www.wish.org.

2006 Make-A-Wish Gala honoree Michael Senter (left), CEO of ABCO Refrigeration Supply Corp., with Make-A-Wish Child Megan Popkin and Matt Peterson, vice president of York, a Johnson Controls Company.

Sidebar: ABCO's Senter Honored
at New York Make-A-Wish Gala

The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Metro New York recently honored Michael Senter, chief executive officer of ABCO Refrigeration Supply Corp., a Luxaire® HVAC distributor, at its annual "When You Wish Upon A Star" Gala at The Pierre in New York City on May 11. More than $1.5 million were raised at the event, setting a new fundraising record for Make-A-Wish of Metro New York.

Senter was honored for extraordinary service and fundraising during his past four years as a member of the Metro New York foundation's board of directors. For the 2006 Gala alone, he spearheaded ABCO's HVAC industry initiative to raise more than $450,000, thereby granting up to 65 wishes for children. ABCO surpassed its initial goal of granting at least 57 wishes, which was set in recognition of the 57 years the company has been in business.

Senter is also responsible for originating and helping to develop a national partnership between Luxaire Heating & Air Conditioning and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America.

"It is an honor to be recognized by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Metro New York," he said. "It's even more of an honor to be helping so many children through our partnership."

Publication date: 06/12/2006