Heat’s On program gives veterans free furnace checks

CROSS PLAINS, Wis. —  On a chilly fall day, heating technicians are gearing up for a busy season of furnace checks. For over 30 local technicians, though, today’s checks won’t be by the book.

Today, the annual Heat’s On event has returned to the homes of 40 veterans. The event, run by local steamfitters, provides free furnace checks and repairs to area veterans. General Heating & Cooling technician Scott Zahn says that sacrificing his time is well worth it to honor the sacrifices made by the people he’s serving.

“What I do every day, I really enjoy,” said Zahn. “These people, they put their lives on the line for us.”

Zahn has been part of the program, now entering its 33rd year, for the past 8 years, servicing 24 veterans so far.

This stuff is always there for them so why shouldn’t we be there for them?”

The “stuff” Zahn is talking about is memories of service, fond and unpleasant. Harold Miller can attest to that.

As a Vietnam War veteran, Miller’s recollection of his time stationed in Long Ben hasn’t been affected by the years. He remembers everything, right down to the second.

 “I always tell people that if you remember the tv program MASH, and remember Radar, well, I kinda was operating like Radar,” said Miller. “A lot of times I would have to run out to the junkyard and cannibalize a part off of a jeep or whatever.”

Miller grins in photos with his friends, friends he hasn’t seen in 68 years. He remembers the heat and the wooden barracks he slept in.

“I was very fortunate to be stationed where I was,” he said.

In the present, Miller’s house has been gifted with heat, to keep both himself and his memories warm.