DANE COUNTY, Wis. — Dozens of technicians on Saturday donated their time and labor to help those who have served the country.
They serviced furnaces for Dane County Veterans, free of charge, through the annual Heat’s On event. It’s hosted by the Madison Area Mechanical & Sheet Metal Contractors Association (MSC) and Steamfitters Local 601.
Travis Leanna is a Marine Corps veteran living near Madison. He served from 2005 to 2010. Leanna said he’s grateful for the time he spent in the service.
“It was a good time,” he said. “It wasn’t necessarily all good times, but it was really positive learning moments for me.”
Adjusting to life after the Marines wasn’t always easy for him.
“I went back to college, but kind of fell on my face a little bit,” Leanna said. “I did not integrate well back.”
The Heat’s On event aims to make life easier for Leanna and other Dane County veterans like him. Over 50 local technicians volunteered this year.
Dustin Allendorf, a journeyman steamfitter with Hooper Corporation, was one of them.
“I love working with my hands and just the actual ability to troubleshoot stuff,” he said.
Allendorf has volunteered for the Heat’s On event nearly every year for the past several years.
“I like my job, I enjoy what I do and I’m really passionate about it, so this is a way that I can give back on something that I’m very passionate about, something that I like to do,” he said.
The event has been helping veterans prepare their homes for winter for the past 35 years, with the goal of making sure no veteran goes without heat, or is put in danger by a faulty heating system.
Allendorf said it’s a way for him and others to go a step further in their gratitude.
“The gratitude that they give you, when really we wouldn’t be able to do any of this without veterans, and we wouldn’t be able to be where we are today without them,” he said.
Leanna now lives with his wife and two kids, and has found a sense of community by getting involved with veterans’ groups. While he always appreciates the gratitude people give for his service, he said it means a lot to have technicians like Dustin show their support in this way.
“It’s not something that I expect,” Leanna said. “You know, I served for my own reasons. But to have someone go out of their way to say thank you, it means a lot.”
Dane County veterans who are interested in signing up for this service are encouraged to call the MSC office at (608) 288-1414.