I was intrigued by a letter from an interested reader addressing the topic of “public disinterest” in the hvacr industry. Lee Woods wrote in his letter to our Feedback section (The News,Oct. 9) that pounding our chests in front of the general media is “simplistic.” He asks, “What do we pound it about?”

Well, Lee, look at the stories in the recent past that The News has covered:

  • Grand Forks, ND, contractors working around-the-clock to replace water damaged units from the Red River flood of 1997;
  • Carrier donating a/c units to the elderly in Texas during the heat wave of 1999;
  • The Dixon, CA, contractor who, after learning a customer was undergoing chemotherapy, sent her a Christmas card with a note saying they’d make the December payment on her wall unit;
  • The Connecticut contractors who donated labor and the suppliers who donated equipment to the Amistad project, a recreated wooden schooner being used as a floating educational exhibit;
  • Lennox and a Wichita, KS, contractor who donated equipment and labor to replace an aging a/c system at a cerebral palsy center; and
  • San Antonio, TX, contractors who worked around-the-clock and offered equipment discounts to victims of the 1998 flooding in the region.
  • These items represent just a tiny sampling of what The News reported. Think of the many good deeds that go unreported and unnoticed. That’s my problem — too much apathy and too much “who cares?”

    Apathy Abounds

    But this problem not just germane to the hvacr industry. Unnoticed good deeds happen all of the time in every industry. Even high-profile industries like professional sports have a hard time convincing people that athletes do more than hit a baseball or throw a football. Their people donate a large portion of their time visiting terminally ill children, cancer patients, and participating in school-sponsored events.

    Unfortunately, the art of philanthropy is beginning to slow down. Maybe a few “good deeds” articles will stir people’s emotions and heighten their interest in helping others beside themselves.

    I’m going to witness some good deeds first hand on October 28th during a visit to Dallas. The North Texas ACCA Chapter will be sponsoring its 10th-annual “Heat the Town” program. Their goal is to provide a safe source of heat for at least one room in the homes of elderly or disabled homeowners in the Dallas/Fort Worth region. This event is one example where the local media does get involved, helping to spread the word about the good deeds of area contractors.

    There are probably a lot of other worthwhile programs that go on with little fanfare outside of their localities. And maybe it’s time to change that. Maybe it’s time to take some local stories and make them into national news, to change the perception of what the hvacr industry is to many people — a bunch of shabbily dressed, undereducated service people driving unmarked or rusted vans, looking to undercharge and then overcharge, depending on how many bills were overdue that day.

    I’ll be happy to carry the torch and tell everyone about the good things we do. In fact, I’ll go one step further. You tell me about an upcoming “feel-good” event that local hvacr contractors are involved in, and I will try everything I can to get the event recognized on a local, regional, or if possible, a national level. If my schedule permits, I’ll attend the event in person.

    And we won’t need a megaphone to make our noise.

    Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 248-244-6417, 248-362-0317 (fax); halljr@bnp.com (e-mail).

    Publication date: 10/23/2000