Farmington woman living in unheated home wins free furnace from local company

Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning gives away furnace for 3rd straight year

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A Farmington heating, ventilation and air conditioning company has selected a winner for its annual furnace giveaway program.

Owner Michelle Robbins of Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. announced in a Nov. 18 news release that her company had chosen an elderly woman who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis as this year's winner. The woman has lived in her home in Farmington for approximately 60 years but has gone the last two winters without heat, Robbins said.

"She has a wonderful family," Robbins said during a phone interview on Nov. 19, explaining how the family members had pooled resources and tried various approaches the last two years to keeping the woman warm, including using space heaters.

None of those approaches worked, Robbins said, but the woman will not have to endure the situation for much longer. The new unit is scheduled to be installed in her home this week, meaning she should be cozy and warm for Thanksgiving.

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Michelle Robbins

Robbins said when the company informed the woman she had won the new furnace, her response was to ask if there wasn't a family with young children or anyone more deserving than her.

"We told her it was her turn to stay warm," Robbins said.

This is the third year the Farmington firm has awarded a free furnace to a local needy family or individual and installed the unit in their home. Those who are nominated for the prize must own their own home and have natural gas service to be considered.

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In 2019, the inaugural year of the program, Robbins said 40 nominations were received via an online process. That figure doubled to 80 nominations last year and climbed to 113 this year, though Robbins noted that many of those nominations were for the same person or family. A team of Robbins employees considered the nominations, and the winner was selected after employee teams conducted site visits to the nominees who qualified.

"We met with several people in their homes to ensure that our furnace would be compatible with their existing system," Robbins stated in the press release. "That is the best and hardest part of this whole process because it is so great to meet people and hard to only choose one as a winner."

Robbins said she has been gratified by the response she has received from family members of this year's winner, many of whom have reached out to her to thank her for donating the furnace to their family matriarch.

"It was really thrilling," she said.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or Support local journalism with a digital subscription.