There are things that people do for no other reason than "it just feels right." I've talked about many HVACR contractors who give back to their communities all the time. Many of their deeds go unnoticed and unrewarded. But that's OK with them; many don't want the attention or accolades. They do good things because it simply feels right.

A couple of things are happening that I think deserve some recognition. These events typify the bigheartedness of contractors, and I'm sure that many News readers can offer similar stories of unsung charity in their communities.

And while these good deeds make everyone feel good, I also feel it is important for the communities to know about their contractors and what they do to help.

I gladly accept the baton and spread the word about good deeds contractors have done, and I'll make sure the following deeds - which happen to be taking place in my neck of the woods - do not go unnoticed by the local press.

Habitat For Humanity

One of the most recognizable charities in the United States is Habitat for Humanity ( The nonprofit organization was founded in 1976 and provides housing for people who lack adequate shelter. Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, are key members of the group, heading up the Jimmy Carter Work Project.

In 2005 the Jimmy Carter Work Project will come to Michigan, where the group plans to construct 200 Habitat for Humanity houses in Detroit and Benton Harbor.

The projects will involve many construction and mechanical contractors, including HVACR contractors. When I learned that the project was coming to Detroit, I contacted some of my contractor friends and encouraged them to volunteer to work on the project.

Several have signed on to help install the HVAC systems in the homes, which feature 1,150 square feet of living space with three or four bedrooms. A massive 60-home project is due to be completed in one week (the foundations and hookups have already been installed).

I plan to do my best to make sure the local Detroit media comes out en masse to the worksite when our contractors are there. (Remember: wear clean uniforms with the company logo.) Keep an eye out for Habitat for Humanity projects in your community, too.

Fundraiser For Zoe

On a lesser-known scale, one Detroit-area contractor is helping raise money to defray medical expenses for the family of a young girl. Zoe Bergen is a two-year-old who has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma. Neuroblastma is a cancer of the sympathetic nervous system.

Of the 1,000 cases diagnosed annually, most afflicted are under the age of five. Statistics have shown that only 30 percent of children diagnosed with this disease at Zoe's age survive it.

Zoe has been fighting the disease through chemotherapy, hospital stays, a battery of tests, and many sleepless nights. Her parents, Dave and Danielle, are giving everything they can for her health and safety.

Luckily, Dave and Danielle have a great support group of friends that includes Josh Bigelow. Bigelow is the owner of Great Dane Heating & Air Conditioning Inc., Clinton Township, Mich.

Bigelow has organized a raffle and fundraiser to help the Bergens. An upcoming bowling party and golf tournament are just two activities he is organizing. In addition, a Web site has been established for information regarding donations and fundraising (

Bigelow isn't doing it for the publicity; he is doing it because he cares. I am writing about Zoe because I care. I am the father of two young children, and I can't imagine the pain that Zoe and her parents are suffering.

But I'll tell you this - Bigelow's good deed will not go unnoticed. And if you've done a good deed - or know of someone else who has - drop me an e-mail. I'll jump right on it.

John R. Hall is business management editor. He can be reached at 734-464-1970, 248-786-1390 (fax), or

Publication date: 04/25/2005