Volunteers help elders prepare for upcoming winter

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – As it continues to get colder, there are many people in communities who need help staying warm. So, many professionals took the time Saturday to assist, doing something their groups have done for three decades.

A group of people are on a mission to get to homes where senior citizens or disabled elders need a hand in prepping for the cold months. 

“There’s a lot of older people in Albuquerque who can’t do that themselves and maybe their family members are out of town or can’t help them. It just makes you feel good to help them out and get their heat on,” said Kimberly Crawford, a volunteer.  

The City of Albuquerque and the 412 Plumber and Pipefitters Union have come together every year for 30 years to help make sure the heaters in elderly homes work, but that’s not the only thing they check. 

“We actually replace all the fire alarms and smoke alarms, we check them and make sure the batteries are good. If they’re not, we replace them and put up new ones. We have carbon monoxide testers, we look at their water heaters, check their furnaces, make sure there’s no gas leakage in the house, we shut down their coolers,” said Courtenay Eichhorst, business manager of U.A. Local 412 Plumbers & Pipefitters Union.  

The event is called “H.E.A.T.S. On,” and serves many seniors around the metro. 

“Over 100 seniors will be visited today,” said Ana Sanchez, director of the CABQ’s Department of Senior Affairs. 

After the volunteers meet for breakfast and get their assigned areas, they head out to their trucks in their teams of three to four people and spread out across the city.

“They line everything up for us so when it’s, this Saturday, they’ve got the list together, the city does a great job of having everything we need – they know where the homes are and they’ll give us a map,” said Eichhorst.  

And the list of seniors comes from the Senior of Department Affairs Department with the City of Albuquerque. 

“There are seniors that have great need in our community, and we work with them very closely to identify those who are most vulnerable right now,” said Sanchez. 

To help those in need, and it also helps the 412 Union show what their workers and volunteers can do, all for a good cause.  

“If we can give back, and we can show our talents and to the homeowners and the city and just let them know we’re here on the union’s behalf and on the city’s behalf and for New Mexicans that we all are. We love to see the smiling faces,”  said Eichhorst.