Story to warm hearts and home

Published 5:48 pm Sunday, January 30, 2011

A special luncheon was held for employees of Michiana Heating and Air Conditiong to meet Sue and Dennis Clark who won a furnace earlier this month. Pictured in front from left is Jon Gillispie, Steve Gillispie, owner of Michiana Heating and Air Conditioning, Denelle Clark daughter of winners Sue and Dennis Clark and Craig Kersten, territory manager for Carrier Corp. Pictured in back from left is Judy Richter, Joe Shetterly, Brent Gillispie, Carey Frazier, Nick Downing, Bob Cyrs, Laura Holloway and Craig Richter.

It has been a cruel and unforgiving winter. Though there has been the occasional reprieve, with temperatures crawling up into what could be considered the balmy mid 30s, those days have often been followed by another round of significant snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures.

And for most of it Sue and Dennis Clark of Cassopolis suffered through the season without heat.

On Friday employees of Michiana Heating and Air Conditioning Inc. held a special luncheon to meet with the Clarks, who were the winners of a contest held earlier this year in which they won a brand new furnace for their home.

Steve Gillispie, owner of Michiana Heating and Air Conditioning, said after announcing the contest, “we got several entries and what we ended up doing was picking the best one out of the entries we got.”

Those who wanted to participate wrote in for a chance to win a brand new furnace by the company. The winners were chosen earlier this month.

Gillispie received an email by the Clarks’ daughter Denelle who, he said, told him both of her parents were good people who had worked hard and were disabled in a car accident years prior.

Their furnace had given them several problems before giving out completely. Gillispie said many people had been out to the Clarks’ home to inspect it for repair in the past and three qualified professionals told them it could not be fixed.

Denelle wrote that she was writing for her parents, who were using electric space heaters to keep warm, because she knew they cared too much for others who might be in need to ask for themselves, Gillispie said.

“After talking to them … ” he said, “it was a heartfelt story and I decided at that point to put a free furnace in for them.”

That was earlier this month, on Jan. 13. Gillispie went to inspect the Clarks’ furnace, which indeed could not be fixed, he said. He then made arrangements for the new furnace to be installed the next day.

“I wanted to find somebody that actually needed a new furnace and could not provide one for themselves,” he said. From what he could tell, the Clarks had been living without heat for “what sounded like the entire winter so far.”

Employees at the company wanted to meet the family and Sue, Dennis and Denelle were invited for the luncheon on Friday, giving everyone a chance to meet the family whose story had warmed hearts and whose home would now be much warmer for the rest of the cold winter season.