Check out this great article from the Tidewater Review about one of our Critical Repairs in West Point
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Habitat for Humanity helps bring comfort to West Point family
By Amy Jo Martin, Tidewater Review
May 02, 2022 at 11:41 am
WEST POINT — For the first time in months, West Point resident Chaunta Morse and her two kids will sleep comfortably in their townhome.
After dealing with months of blazing hot air from a defunct heating and air-conditioning system and nights away from home, the family received a new unit from Hanover and King William Habitat for Humanity and Blazer Heating & Air of Hanover County.
“The heat has been so high that I have been consistently checking on my son all night when he does sleep at home,” Morse said about her 13-year-old son, Micah.
Micah is affected by heat more than the average person. He suffers from Von Willebrand disease, a clotting disorder that causes him to have nosebleeds whenever the temperature rises.
“When the heat is too high, he will wake up with blood all over his pillow, so I really wasn’t sleeping,” said Morse. “I’ve seen his nosebleeds be so bad that blood was coming out of his mouth.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Von Willebrand disease affects about 1% of the U.S. population. That means that about 1 in every 100 people, or 3.2 million Americans, suffer from it.
Symptoms include frequent nosebleeds that occur without injury and last 10 minutes or longer. Other symptoms include frequent large raised bruises, heavy menstrual bleeding and abnormally long bleeding times following injury.
Micah is also asthmatic, and his breathing is exasperated by the heat. Like her brother, 15-year-old Naavah, also cannot tolerate the heat because of her eczema, a skin condition that causes redness and itching.
“When it gets hot, her skin gets really irritated and cracked,” Morse said. “She will just sit there and scratch the heck out of herself.”
A self-proclaimed “helicopter mom,” Morse sought out a solution as soon as her HVAC system malfunctioned and started blasting heat throughout the house.
Once she realized the air wasn’t working in her home, Morse sent her kids to relatives’ homes whenever possible. When she called a contractor, she was told she needed a new HVAC unit, which would cost around $8,000.
“I didn’t have it. I don’t have it now,” she said. “I have been going through a hard time and I didn’t know what to do.”
A hair stylist for 30 years, Morse was forced to close her Williamsburg salon in 2020, in part due to the COVID pandemic.
“I had two surgeries in 2020 and when I was healed and ready to return to work, the governor shut businesses down [due to COVID],” said Morse, who now works at Medicaid from home.
Morse credits her mother for suggesting she reach out for help.
“My mom said to me, ‘There has to be help somewhere,’ so I called Social Services,” she said.
Morse said she remembered that during the pandemic, residents needing help were encouraged to call 211. This number directed her to the Virginia Department of Social Services, which is in contact with Hanover and King William Habitat for Humanity.
Morse was accepted for the organization’s Critical Repair Program, which offers reduced-cost repairs to King William or Hanover County homeowners to make their houses accessible, livable and energy efficient. Residents can receive help with repairs or replacements to roofs, fascia, gutters, windows, exterior doors, decks, stairs, electrical systems, plumbing or HVAC systems, like Morse’s.
“Repairing owner-occupied homes allows a healthy and stable environment for families [like Chaunta Morse’s],” said Habitat Executive Director Renee Robinson.
In order to replace Morse’s defunct HVAC, Habitat joined forces with Blazer Heating & Air, which donated labor and parts. Blazer installed a energy efficient, high-end Trane HVAC unit from Trane’s Do What’s Right Program.
“This is a great time to give back when we have some availability,” said Bobby Broyles, Blazer’s marketing and community relations director. “We want to bring comfort home for this family.”
Blazer technicians, who have partnered with Habitat once before, spent several hours last week installing the HVAC unit in Morse’s home on Patriot Village Court in West Point, then made sure she knew how to use and maintain the new system.
This is a step that is pivotal for homeowners, Broyles said.
“We are big on educating the customer on how this all works,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know how often to change the filters and that’s something that can extend the life of your system.”
The new HVAC unit will provide Morse and her kids not only physical comfort, but also financial comfort, according to Blazer General Manager Jason Verlander.
“Her HVAC unit is efficient to run and will have low electricity costs,” Verlander said.
According to Trane, a unit like Morse’s could save her up to 19% on the costs of cooling her home.
“We strive to put our customers first and to make every home comfortable,” Verlander said.
This comfort has helped to put Morse’s mind at ease.
“Hopefully, I’ll finally sleep through the night knowing everybody is comfortable,” said Morse.
Aside from Morse’s home, Blazer plans to continue working with Hanover and King William Habitat on other projects. Last month, the company donated $10,000 in labors and parts to Habitat at the grand opening of its new ReStore in Mechanicsville.
Blazer also donates broken HVAC units to Habitat for its metal recycling program. Proceeds go to Habitat programs.
“I cannot say enough about Blazer,” Robinson said. “They exemplify what we love about companies in Hanover and King William — they want to serve the community and we are lucky to have them as a partner in our work.”
Habitat is continuing to take applications for critical repairs for residents of both Hanover and King William counties. For more information on the Critical Repair Program and other programs, visit www.hkwhabitat.org.
Amy Jo Martin, [email protected]