It’s been a long, hot summer for
U.S. Army veteran Leroy McCray and his wife, Peggy. In effect, summer has
lasted for eight years, after the McCrays’ aging air conditioning system
stopped working for the final time years ago.
While the idea of living in Florida without AC is daunting for anyone, it’s
downright dangerous for McCray. The Vietnam-era veteran now suffers from cancer
due to exposure to Agent Orange. The cancer affects his lungs and he is on
oxygen at night so that he can breather better. But with the unremitting summer
heat, the rubber breathing tubes on his oxygen tank were softening and
collapsing, and he was having trouble breathing at night.
Last summer, McCray called Goodwill Manasota’s Veterans Services Program to ask
for help. It was a particularly hot summer and he was suffering. Goodwill
partnered with SRQ Vets to purchase and install a window unit in the McCray’s
bedroom. While this was a great improvement for the
McCrays, it was still just one comfortable room in the home when temperatures were hot. Last week, Veteran Air Conditioning owner Kevin Henault visited the McCrays. He decided he would donate the labor to install a new central air conditioning system but requested funding from Goodwill Manasota to cover the supplies. The contribution was approved swiftly, with the money coming from Goodwill’s Special Emergency Resources for Veterans (SERV) Fund. Today, several Veteran Air Conditioning installers were on hand with a brand new, 2-1/2 ton AC system. They updated the electrical infrastructure, installed the system, and replaced an attic air duct. By day’s end, the McCrays were cool and comfortable in their own home. Veteran Air Conditioning owner Kevin Henault has been a proud Ambassador for Goodwill Manasota for several years, supporting the organization in particular for its commitment to helping veterans reintegrate into their families, jobs and communities. Henault – who served in the Army – comes from a long line of veterans. Many of the men in his family have served in the Armed Forces, in every conflict since World War I, and his son returned from Afghanistan in 2015, where he served in the Army’s 101st Airborne Division. In addition to his efforts to support Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program, Henault also hires many veterans whenever possible, offers discounts on AC systems and services for veterans, and also donates his company’s services to install AC systems on homes built for severely injured veterans, through the Homes for Our Troops program. “Having a successful business is an accomplishment. When you are able to help your community through your business, it’s a joy,” said Henault. “I enjoy helping veterans and children in our community and encourage others to do the same through fine programs such as Goodwill’s Veterans Services, SRQ Vets, Vets2Success and others.”