2018-09-13 / Viewpoint

Project Heat’s On entering 10th year

BURTON – Now entering its 10th year, Project Heat’s On, a charitable program sponsored by the City of Burton and Goyette Mechanical, is continuing its efforts to provide assistance for area men, women and families in need. The program, which seeks to help individuals and families with their winter heating bills throughout the winter, goes beyond mere charity, and has actually saved lives.

Curt LaLonde, Chairman of the Project Heat’s On Committee, said that the project began with the help of Vaughn Smith, a Burton resident and City Councilman. The two men went to school together, and decided to make a plan to help the city in which they lived.

“Times became very difficult after the bubble burst and the economy took a dive during the Great Recession,” said LaLonde. “There was a lot of need when this first started 10 years ago, and particularly in Burton. The area was hit very hard. So, we decided to hatch a plan and see what we could do to help.” When the project first began, Goyette Mechanical absorbed all of the expenses needed to help applicants with their heating bills, while contractors, servicemen and electricians donated their time, skills and labor in order to get the project up and running. Meanwhile, a process was initiated to screen and profile each of the applicants in order to best serve the needs of the community.

The recipients of assistance from Project Heat’s On must meet a number of requirements and criteria, the first two of which are that each applicant must be a Burton resident and a homeowner. Taxes must be paid in full and a certain level of income must be taken into account in order to ensure those that are in the most dire need are served.

“Our mission is to help, first and foremost,” said LaLonde. “And, obviously, during the winter months, you’re thinking about the holidays, and when you’re low income, you’ve got plenty of other bills you’re worrying about, so a lot of times, the last thing you’re thinking about is your furnace, but you’ve gotta have heat, so our program is designed to make sure that furnace is clean and safe for the winter.”

Overall, more than 600 homes and families have benefited from Project Heat’s On – a staggering number that would have otherwise gone without heat, or worse. During that time, LaLonde says that the program installed no fewer than 20 brand-new furnaces and hotwater heaters at absolutely no charge to the homeowners. The program also installs new ductwork, and, perhaps most importantly, found a number of homes to be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, literally saving the lives of the occupants.

The program, which relies on sponsorships and donations from the surrounding community, will hold a kickoff breakfast on Oct. 13 at Goyette, located at 3842 Gorey Ave. in Flint. For more information regarding Project Heat’s On or the application process, visit www.goyettemechanical.com, call Vaughn Smith at 810-516-9614 or email Smith at vaughnsmith161@hotmail.com.

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