Warren sheet metal union helps veteran heat his home

- For the first time in a very long time, heating Kevin "Dutch" Wittbrodt's Warren home won't be as much of a hassle.

Dutch and his wife pretty much lost everything in the lower level of their home in the historic flood that put much of metro Detroit under water in August of 2014.

You name it, his furnace, washer and dryer were all destroyed by some three feet of sewage in their basement. A check from FEMA for just $932 didn't come close to covering the damage.

He's been without a furnace for three years now, relying on wood, small electric heaters and his oven for warmth during the winter. 

"This winter is probably been rougher than last winter. I went through eight cords of wood," he says.

But a group of sheet metal workers have now given this decorated Marine veteran help -- and hope.

"We want to make sure we get this done and taken care of for our retired service men. They've done so much for us that we need to do something for them," says Ralph Consiglio. 

"With his situation, being a disabled vet, to me it sounded like a good idea to come down here and volunteer to help the man out," says Palmer Bentsen. 

Union sheet metal workers from Local 80 learned about the struggles of the two-time Purple Heart recipient, and knew they needed to give back. Since late last week they have been doing just that.

With generous donations from area businesses, they've installed a new furnace and central air unit, among other household necessities that this 22-year veteran was forced to live without.

"I'm absolutely overwhelmed. I really can't put into words how thankful I am to the fellows over at Sheet Metal Workers Local 80," he says. 

We're told this is close to a $10,000 job that has been donated to Dutch and his wife. The work should be completed sometime later this week. 

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