Jessica G. of Albuquerque was struggling with degenerative nerve disease and late-stage cancer, but she had the support of her extended family and her business, SOS of New Mexico, to keep her occupied.

As a long-time, second-generation business owner, she was able to continue to work running background checks out of a home office space, having taken over the business from her mother. 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

Then came the day when the family found water spreading across the floor after the hot water heater had burst. “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 that their furnace needed expensive repairs as the winter months quickly 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 malfunctions 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, even though approximately 75 percent have health insurance when they are diagnosed. Financial difficulty makes recovering even more difficult.

Turning to a Trusted Friend

Facing a winter with a faulty furnace and no hot water, Jessica turned to Eric Maxon, Steward’s Plumbing president, with whom she’d been a member of a 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 and they understood her home’s heating and plumbing systems. Having a plumber who is trustworthy and competent, without having to seek out and contact multiple plumbers to receive quotes, was important to her.

Steward’s Plumbing is a HomeServe USA network contractor, and Eric was familiar with the home repair company’s charitable arm, HomeServe Cares, which 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 repairs done would be life-changing for her and her family.”

A National Company Steps In to Help

In order to become a HomeServe network contractor, Steward’s Plumbing employees had to pass background checks and drug screenings, and the company’s insurance, license and certification was confirmed. In addition, the company must maintain an A rating with the Better Business Bureau and a high customer satisfaction percentage. 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 repair valves in the radiant heat furnace.

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

To learn more about how we can help people in our community, contact us.

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