Plumbers donate time, skills for those in need

Published 6:37 am Monday, March 29, 2010

Fixing a leaky faucet can go a long way toward cutting monthly bills, and local plumbers donated their time this weekend to help area residents repair broken faucets and other minor plumbing needs.

Employees from Harty Mechanical volunteered as part of Waters Off Saturday, a program to provide plumbing help for disabled low-income senior citizens and disabled homeowners.

“It’s just a good way to give back to the community,” said Brad Friedrich, a service technician with Harty Mechanical.

More than 700 plumbers across the state participated in the event, donating an estimated $100,000 of plumbing services.

Harty Mechanical’s employees, who are part of the Local No. 6 union, also participated in Heats On last fall, which focused on furnace and heat issues since it was near the start of winter.

After a Waters Off breakfast at Harty Mechanical, 1600 First Ave. NE. crews went out to the homes. They mostly worked to fix water leaks, and other small plumbing issues. A large part of that is reducing water consumption and water costs.

At the home of Ted and Judy Rowe, Friedrich and Nick Pettitt, another service technician, worked to fix a leaking bath tub faucet.

Judy has been in a wheel chair for six years because of extreme arthritis in her hips. She learned about Waters Off through a social worker.

Ted said he used to do such changes himself, but his eyesight has declined, so he can no longer do such work.

Ted said the help is beneficial during the difficult economy.

“I don’t make the money I used to, and money doesn’t stretch anymore like it used to,” Ted said.

Ted is a security guard with Securitas Security Services Inc. at Hormel Foods. Corp.

Friedrich said about eight crews, most with about two workers, volunteered work at two houses each Saturday morning.

Friedrich said such repairs will help the homeowners reduce water bills and save money in the long run.

The Rowe’s home was the second home Friedrich and Pettitt volunteered at Saturday morning. They also fixed a leaky faucet at the first home, a job Friedrich estimated can cost about $150.

Pettitt, who’s been with Harty Mechanical for about a year, said the weekend event offered a chance to gain experience.

Pettitt described his position as “the lowest on the chain” as he works his way up from working as a shop boy. He has been working on the new jail and justice center, but Waters Off gives him a chance to do service work.