Retired Warren firefighter donates new furnace to single mother

A retired firefighter who was looking to give back this holiday season has donated a new furnace to a family in Warren

“We see the need out there and with this lockdown and stuff, it’s pretty tough. So we thought we’d give back," said Mark Schimanski, who also owns Shimanski Heating and Cooling.

He says business has been good so he asked around to find someone who could use a little help, and that's how he learned about a single mother of three who needed a furnace.

“A lot of people don’t like to ask for help. And there’s pride issues, which is fine, and so when her aunt got a hold of me I said, you know what, we're going to check this out," Schimanski said.

The aunt of Melissa Apfel reached out to Schimanski and explained the rough year she’s had. Apfel even lost her fiancée on Thanksgiving to liver and kidney failure.

"This last couple of years have been really tough with bills and I’m just afraid that the heat's going to be the next thing to go," she said. 

But not anymore.

Shimanski gathered a crew together and got some help from Macomb Township firefighters.

“Macomb Township Local 5023 stepped up to the plate and paid the township permit fees for the inspection so Marc could install the furnace," said Chris Gruener, a Macomb Twp. firefighter.

“The guys love it. They love to do this stuff so anytime we can help is good," Schimanski said.

Fighting back tears Apfel watches as her old, inefficient furnace replaced with a brand new one... with a warranty... 

"It was amazing. I really appreciate them coming out and doing this for us," Apfel said. “It’s just good to see the community coming together and helping out somebody in need especially during this time."

“If I can put a challenge out to my other heating and cooling companies out there, if you can do anything for these people and help them out, it’s a great thing to do," Schimanski said.