Jessica of Albuquerque was struggling with degenerative nerve disease and late-stage cancer. So emergency furnace repairs blind-sided her.

Jessica faced adversity, but she had her family and her business, SOS International, to keep her occupied. As a second-generation business owner, she continued to work out of a home office space. Jessica also had the comfort of her extended family, including her mother, son, daughter and two grandchildren, surrounding and helping her.

Jessica didn’t have it easy, but she had a strong support network and fulfilling work.

Everything Goes Wrong at Once

The family found water spreading across the floor after the hot water heater burst. And that was before they realized they needed emergency furnace repairs.

“My son’s carpet was wet and we thought the dog’s water spilled, but you stepped on it and [half an inch] of water came to the top,” Jessica said.

The family received more bad news when they learned they needed emergency furnace repairs, an expensive prospect as winter approached.

“Six [valves] went out at one time,” Jessica said. “It was starting to get cold at night, and my daughter has a newborn and a two-year-old.”

With a new baby in the home, the hot water heater failure and emergency furnace repairs had come at the worst possible time. The family couldn’t financially handle so much going wrong at once.

“I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Jessica said.

People like Jessica, who face serious illness, are particularly financially vulnerable. Those battling cancer are two and a half times more likely to go bankrupt, although 75 percent have health insurance. Financial difficulty makes recovering even more difficult.

Turning to a Trusted Friend

Facing a winter with emergency furnace repairs and no hot water, Jessica turned to Eric Maxon, Steward’s Plumbing president. The two had been members of the same business association.

“My first thought was Steward’s Plumbing,” Jessica said. “There’s no one in Albuquerque I trust more.”

Steward’s Plumbing had done Jessica’s plumbing work for years, because she trusted their competency and professionalism. They understood her home’s heating and plumbing systems. It was important to have a plumber who was trustworthy and competent. She didn’t want to seek out and contact multiple plumbers to receive quotes.

Steward’s Plumbing is a HomeServe network contractor, and Eric was familiar with the company’s charitable arm, the HomeServe Cares Foundation. Through its Caring for People program, the foundation provides home repairs at no cost to those who qualify.

“I’ve known Jessica for years,” Eric said. “We’ve worked together on several projects, and getting these emergency furnace repairs done would be life-changing for her and her family.”

A National Company Steps In to Help

Steward’s Plumbing employees passed drug and background checks before the company became part of the HomeServe network. In addition, the company must maintain an A rating with the Better Business Bureau and a high post-job survey score.

HomeServe uses local contractors, because not only are they close by and convenient, but they are familiar with local permitting processes and building codes.

Eric reached out to HomeServe and proposed Jessica and her family as candidates for HomeServe Cares. HomeServe agreed to help the family and dispatched Steward’s Plumbing to replace the hot water heater and make the emergency furnace repairs.

“I couldn’t believe he and HomeServe worked so diligently to make this happen for me,” Jessica said. “Thank you, HomeServe!”

Utilities are looking for opportunities to connect more deeply with customers. HomeServe helps to improve customer engagement for our utility partners through the integration of complementary home repair programs with utility initiatives such as energy efficiency and safety, offering customers greater access and choice. Partnership allows the utility to leverage HomeServe’s marketing and communications expertise to educate their customers through a variety of channels. For more information, contact us.