Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, Plano, TX — one of North America’s largest HVAC brands — announced that it will become a fund-raising partner with the Joseph Groh Foundation for 2014. This non-profit organization provides financial support to people associated with the construction trades who are living with life altering disabilities. Its founder, Joseph Groh, is a 35-year veteran of the HVAC industry, who became a quadraplegic in 2008 after breaking his neck in a biking accident.

 “Since 2010, the Joseph Groh foundation has made life-changing grants to 16 recipients around the country,” said Scott Boxer, President and CEO of Service Experts. “Joseph is an inspiration to all of us that know him and his work, and we look forward a partnership that directly supports our industry.”

Service Expert’s first fund-raising initiative will be announced shortly, and will include donations tied to service calls.
 
 Grants from the Joseph Groh foundation have helped secure everything from wheelchair accessible vans and wheelchair lifts to rehabilitation equipement and a pressure-relieving bed. The foundation has also funded major home remodeling projects to improve accessibility for people using a wheelchair. Numerous local contractors and firms have joined with the foundation to make these projects possible. To date, grants have been made to families in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas.

 One of the foundation’s major fund-raiding events is a golf tournament at Prestonwood Country Club in Dallas, TX on May 5. Every golfer will have an opportunity to participate in the "Putt for Cash Sweepstakes" prior to the start of the scramble. The competition will occur over three holes, and the winner will have an opportunity to win $10,000 by sinking a 50 foot putt. Th day will conclude with dinner, annoucement of prizes and a silent auction. Entry fees can be seen and sign-ups completed on the Joseph Groh foundation website, click on the golf tab.
 
 The Joseph Groh Foundation, a 501(c) 3 tax deductible foundation, serve as a clearinghouse of information for those with life altering disabilities. There are over 125 links to a wide array of information on their website.  Learn more at josephgrohfoundation.org.

ANDREW BEHOF'S STORY
Andrew Behof was born with cerebral palsy, which affects the connection of the brain to the muscles. Andrew's parents lift him in and out of their vehicle in order to transport him, but now he is in high school.  Lifting a 100 pound child into or out of a vehicle was getting more difficult and can be dangerous, especially when there is ice and snow on the ground. Because of this, Andrew was becoming increasingly unable to attend school activities.

It's difficult enough to have a multiple impaired child, but that is magnified without proper transportation. Doing things most of us take for granted like going to the store is enormously complicated when you also have to factor in the time and difficulty of manually transporting a disabled person.  All of this meant that Andrew's parents weren't able to take him to as many things as either he or they they wanted, while at the same time recognizing that engagement in the community is critical for Andrew's development.

Andrew's dad, Bob Behof, is a service technician for Eitel Heinemann, a mechanical contractor based in Buffalo Grove, IL, who took up the charge to try and get the family an accessible van. Paul Gurak, the service manager at EHMS and Bob Behof’s supervisor, coordinated fundraising efforts to buy a van for the Behof family (see related story on Behof family).

The goal was to raise at least $45,000.  After an initial surge, funding slowed to a stop.  The family applied for assistance from the state of Illinois who pledged $15,000, but with a number of caveats applicable to the vehicle. Mobility Works of Villa Park stepped in to help the family find a vehicle that met the states requirements but was still affordable. Meanwhile, a Chicago area friend of the foundation who is in the HVAC industry contacted Joe Groh to let him know of this situation.

Thanks to all of your donations, the foundation was able to pledge the remaining $15,000 needed to make the families wish come true. — Service Experts