Disabled widow given new heating system

This year, few residents of the Highlands will appreciate the warmth of the holidays — and her home — more than Vicki Calder.

Two days before Christmas, technicians from T.Webber Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric installed a new heating system for the Cold Spring resident free of charge.

Vicki Calder at her home (Photo by M. Turton)

The gift, made in partnership with RAL Supply, was part of a program called Heat for the Holidays that Tommy Webber, president of the 30-year-old Philipstown firm, says he plans to make an annual tradition.

For years, Calder was employed by the New York City Board of Education, working with drug-addicted teenagers. Now a widow, and disabled with serious back problems, she lives on a fixed income. Calder said the furnace will allow her to focus on healing.

“I can’t believe it; this is such a gift,” she said. “It’s a Christmas miracle.”

Calder’s aging boiler began malfunctioning last spring. Friends reported that at times, she went without heat. T.Webber solicited nominations for the Heat for the Holidays giveaway, and a friend sent in her name and details.

Chris Piacente headed the three-man crew that removed Calder’s 35-year-old steel boiler, replacing it with a modern, oil-fired cast-iron model. The new system, including installation, retails for about $10,000, he said.

“Family and community have always been important to our company culture,” Webber said. “Our hope is this will be as much of a blessing to our neighbors as they’ve been to us throughout the years.”

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Turton, who has been a reporter for The Current since its founding in 2010, moved to Philipstown from his native Ontario in 1998. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Cold Spring government, features