Wulf Bros. Heats Up Home for Sturgeon Bay Couple

As hundreds of Door County residents put their chainsaws to work clearing debris from a destructive Sept. 29 wind storm, employees of Wulf Brothers put their own clean-up needs aside to donate their time to a couple in need.

Nancy and Marvin Taylor hoped to save enough money this winter to buy a new furnace next spring. Their old Williamson oil furnace was inefficient and had malfunctioned twice this year, spitting soot over their entire house. Still, they were resigned to squeezing at least one more winter out of the unit.

Nancy and Marvin Taylor were awed by the generosity of workers who spent a Saturday installing a new furnace in their home. The furnace was donated by Lennox through the company’s Heat Up Wisconsin program, and Wulf Brothers installed it free of charge.

That is, until Ken Rock learned about the Lennox Heat Up Wisconsin program. Rock, the Door County Veterans Services Officer, was in La Crosse at a conference when Lennox representatives gave a presentation about the program, in which the company donates 72 high-efficiency, Energy Star rated gas furnaces to deserving families.

“I thought we must have a Door County veteran who is eligible for this,” Rock said. “Then Marvin came to mind. He and his wife are very active in the community, assisting people. I knew they’d been working on their home, so I sent in a nomination.”

Marvin is a disabled veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and Nancy works as a Psychiatric Technician for the Door County Department of Community Programs, working with people with major mental illness.

Paul Klapatch, Commander of the Marine Corps League Door Peninsula Detachment 1130, works as a case manager for Community Programs. He said Nancy provides an invaluable service.

“She’s in the homes of people who are very isolated and sometimes scared,” he explained. “She’s very good at making friends with the people in the program.”

Nancy teaches them how to cook, do laundry, arranges transportation and performs a myriad of tasks that allow her patients to live successfully in the community.

“It’s really all they need many times,” she said. “It makes for a better life for them.”

Dale Wiegand, a Wulf Brothers employee and Door County Board Supervisor, has particular appreciation for the job Nancy performs.

“A program like that saves the county a lot of money instead of placing [individuals] in a home or hospital,” Wiegand said.

It’s just one of many reasons Wiegand said he’s proud to take part in the Heat Up Wisconsin program. While Lennox donated the furnace, Wulf Brothers donated the time and materials for the installation. Rock suggested installing central air in the home as well, and after an anonymous donor stepped forward to buy the air conditioning unit, Wulf Brothers agreed to install it for no charge.

Then Wiegand placed a call to Mike LeClair of Baylake Electric to see what he could do to help with the electric work. LeClair didn’t hesitate to offer his services.

“I can’t say enough about Mike,” Wiegand said. “After the storm, with all kinds of people calling him for jobs, he still showed up Saturday and donated all of his time and materials.”

The Door County Veterans Services Council paid for the first tank of propane, while Lakes Gas hooked up the LP line and set the tank.

As their house buzzed with nearly a dozen people volunteering their Saturday to help them, Nancy and Marvin struggled to grasp their neighbors’ generosity.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Nancy said as she chopped onions and prepared brats for the crew. “We had no idea this was coming until Dale stopped by to check out our furnace. It’s pretty humbling.”

Their new furnace is 95 percent efficient, Wiegand said, and is likely to cut the couple’s heating bills by at least 25 percent. Since it has a much more efficient blower motor it will also cut into their electric bill. The entire package with the furnace and air conditioning unit, plus installation, would normally cost about $5,000, Wiegand said.

The Taylors will save much more than that in heating and electric bills over the minimum 20-year lifespan of the units.

“This is really appreciated,” said the soft-spoken Marvin. “All these people in Door County helping us, it’s exciting.”