Joe Gerolami and heater recipient Rob Wallace.

Joe Gerolami and heater recipient Rob Wallace.

An outpouring of support; Kelowna company delivers heat and hot water to those in need

Border Plumbing, Heating and Electrical donated hot water tanks and furnaces to struggling families

A Kelowna company that hoped to spread some warmth and Christmas cheer this holiday season to an Okanagan family, has succeeded in its goal.

Border Plumbing, Heating and Electrical wanted to help a family that may be struggling financially during the pandemic by giving the gift of hot water to a family in need.

Owners Joe and Lynda Gerolami, set out about one month ago to ask the community for submissions by those who are struggling or know someone who is under financial stress and who could use a new furnace or hot water system.

“Our community has been supporting us for over 20 years and we want to support our community by being there in their time of need,” said Gerolami, in November.

Now, Kelowna couple Rob and Kathy Wallace are a little less strained and a whole lot warmer, after they were chosen as the recipients.

According to Gerolami, Rob is suffering from the onset of Parkinson’s disease and can no longer work, while his wife Kathy is currently in hospital battling cancer.

Besides dealing with ailing health the two were also tackling a furnace from 1966 that they have been trying to keep running by band-aiding piece-by-piece.

But, the company didn’t stop with its generosity and also gave the gift of hot water to Marion Baumgarten, who has not had hot water since March and has had to boil water on the stove for dishes and baths.

The gift of giving back is clearly contagious in the Okanagan, said Gerolami.

“We had a customer who saw what we were doing with the campaign and she called wanting to donate a water heater as well to a worthy recipient. With Christmas being somewhat of an off-year, rather than purchasing gifts for her family, she thought this would be a great alternative.”

Gerolami accepted and will provide the labour to install the water heater and the customer will pay for it.

“The recipient and this just breaks our heart, is a fellow in Vernon who just recently lost his wife due to tongue cancer and he is left to raise his four-year-old twin daughters,” explained Gerolami. “He has shut down his business until he can find adequate care for his girls. We had the person who nominated him, give him a call to tell him that he was chosen and she replied that Tilo just broke down as he desperately needs this and was trying to figure out a way to get it done.”

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