The installation vehicles of Scotland Heating & A/C and McCarthy Oil at the jobsite. In the foreground is the boiler the team replaced.
As the heating season descends on most of the United States, a group of oil heat contractors in the Northeast are doing their part to ensure that people in need have warmth this winter season. Thanks to the leadership of Oil Heat Cares (OHC), a not-for-profit foundation supported and funded by chapter members of the National Association of Oil Heat Service Managers (NAOHSM), a lot of needy families and individuals will have their oil heating systems repaired or replaced.

And if not for the generous donations of equipment and labor from manufacturers, distributors, and contractors, as well as monetary donations from NAOHSM members and other caring individuals, the program would not be as successful as it is today. The success is growing, too.

"With all of the world's recent weather events, we sometimes have a tendency to reach beyond our neighborhoods to look for people in need," said Judy Garber, chairperson of OHC and executive administrator for NAOHSM.

"Oil Heat Cares is designed to do just that - reach out to our neighbors in need. There are safety nets for the poor, but how about working people that are struggling because of some unforeseen circumstance."

"I know of company owners that have written some pretty nice checks to support OHC and we cannot forget some of the NAOHSM chapters - they have also written a few nice checks," said Alan Mercurio, industry trainer and founder of

"And don't forget the many manufacturers that just keep stepping up to the plate over and over. There are just so many ways so many of us can help. I encourage all my fellow industry professionals to take a moment and think about how they can help and then act on that thought."

Greg Sinay of the Packtor Co. who as well as donating everything "RED" in the photo brought lunch for the crew.

Contractors Care

The Eastern Connecticut NAOHSM Chapter helped out a couple whose young son has an illness that requires his mom to stay at home and tend to his medical needs. The mom learned of OHC from contractor Scott Kneeland of Scotland Heating & Air Conditioning, Willington, Conn. Kneeland, along with other chapter members, installed a boiler and an indirect hot water heater in the home in mid-October.

"The arrangements were made through NAOHSM national association and Judy Garber handled the funds for the equipment. We donated all of the labor," said Kneeland.

Other Connecticut contractors involved in the project included McCarthy Oil, Quaker Hill, Nye Plumbing & Heating, Lisbon, and Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association, Cromwell. The Packtor Co. of Hamden, Conn. donated circulators, flow checks, expansion tank, and air scoops. Company owners, most of whom still work in the field, donated their time on a Saturday to complete the job.

(From left) Mike McCarthy of McCarthy Oil, Bill Nye of Nye Plumbing & Heating, and Scott Kneeland of Scotland Heating & A/C pose after completion of the installation.
"The homeowners were most appreciative," Kneeland said. "They were ecstatic because they had no heat or hot water at the time. It's been a tough road for them in the last five years since the mom stopped working.

"The elderly and people on fixed incomes need help, too," Neeland noted, "especially this year with the high energy costs."

Mercurio gave recognition to those who help those in need.

"I think we owe a great big debt of gratitude to all the folks who get together on their personal time and install the needed equipment, for the families in need," he said.

The Future of OHC

Garber has been busy lining up all of the ducks and taking care of the paperwork for the foundation. "In the spring of 2005, I worked with our lawyer to set up the 501C-3 status," she said.

(From left) Ron Poniatowski Jr. pipes the new unit, Wayne Lawrence assembles the flue pipe, Matt Spink gets ready to install the pressure reducing valve, and Bill Rella "supervises."
"One of the requirements of the IRS was to lay out a three-year financial plan. The good news is we surpassed our financial goals immediately. And the other good news is that our chapters are taking on projects at a steady pace. We've also invited our virtual members (identified as national direct members) to take on a project."

OHC has also been involved in several fundraising projects, which began earlier in 2005 when an educational seminar in Baltimore raised $5,000 for the foundation. Noted lecturer and publisher Dan Holohan held a seminar in early November titled "Dead Men Steam."

With the help of sponsors - Bell & Gossett, ITT, McDonald & Miller and Bacharach - the cost of food at the seminar was defrayed so that all proceeds went to OHC.

"Next on the horizon will be a ‘Care to Ride' event to be held May 15 in Hartford at NAOHSM's Annual Convention and Trade Show," said Garber. "This event is being spearheaded by Oilheating Journal. At present, sponsors for the event are being secured and next people will be asked to ride and walk. The interest so far has been amazing.

"Don Farrell, publisher of Oilheating Journal, has shared with me his goal is to turn over a check for $20,000 to Oil Heat Cares."

For more information visit or call Garber at 888-552-0900.

Publication date: 11/28/2005