It Feels Good to Give Back! Our Michael & Son technicians come across some incredible people with heartbreaking stories. When they find they have nowhere to turn in a time of need, that’s when we come in…to lend a helping hand!
Common Good City Farm is an urban farm that teaches agricultural skills and provides fresh produce to the DC community. Their mission is “to create a vibrant, well informed, and well nourished community through urban farming.” On the farm they grow things such as fruit trees, culinary and medicinal herbs, and over 50 different types of vegetables! However over the past few years, as use has increased and become more sophisticated, their plumbing had deteriorated. Sinks stopped draining, water stopped running where it needed to, and volunteers were often times ankle-deep in mud while washing freshly harvested vegetables.
When Michael & Son Plumbing technician Antonio Diaz came out for a regular service call, he noticed there was quite a bit of work that needed to be done to get the farm back to proper operating conditions. After speaking with Rachel Callahan, Executive Director of Common Good City Farm, and learning that there was no room for the necessary repairs in her budget, Antonio “felt that there was an opportunity to be able to do something for the community that we serve.” That’s when he reached out to the Michael & Son Cares Team to explore the possibility of donating our services as a way of giving back.
After going over the project with Rachel and making sure we had everything in order to restore the farm back to operating conditions, the work began! Over two days Michael & Son technicians replaced water lines, installed new sinks, drains and faucets, as well as ceiling fans and electrical outlets in the farm’s pavilion. The farm could finally “function at a higher level so [they] can focus on producing great food and making connections with community members.”
Watch the video above to see the full project and remember, “If You Can’t, We Can!”
For more information visit CommonGoodCityFarm.com
With the frigid weather quickly approaching in Norfolk, VA, Cynthia Lopez and Ritchie Barnes will be one less family left in the cold. However, for this mother and son, that would not have been the case just two weeks ago. Their 29-year-old heater had taken its last course, leaving them with no other option than to heat up their mobile home by stove for almost two weeks. Just one week after their heater shut down, they received a life changing visit from James Spagnuolo, with Michael & Son Services, who promised them “Michael and Son is going to step in and we’re going to take care of you.”
One week later, just as he promised, Michael and Son was at their door step. After diagnosing the heater, our technicians found that a fuse had caught fire. Ritchie was so grateful that the house did not catch fire as a result, but unfortunately, parts are no longer available for a unit of this age. A new system would cost about $5,000; “…only thing I could think of was we was going to freeze to death…” says Ritchie. That’s when Roddy Leiva, also with Michael and Son Services, went to management and said “Hey we have this family that needs help…” and “…they hesitated not one bit to say let’s get it done”, says Leiva. Because our motto is “If you can’t, we can!” installers Carlos and Emerson were ready to give Cynthia and Ritchie the comfort they were in need of.
A new heat pump, a new air handler, and a new A-frame coil was now installed. Assuring that Cynthia and Ritchie would have one less worry; this season and the winter season ahead. This installation could not have come at a better time, as Cynthia battles with terminal cancer. Ritchie was so relieved, that now there is less of a risk of his mother getting sicker.
Watch this heartfelt video to see our Helping Hands team lend a hand to a family in need:
If you’re in the DC, Maryland or Virginia area and looking for a reliable service company that you can trust to do any job around the house. Call Michael & Son Services today at 1-800-948-MIKE or visit our website. To learn more about Michael & Son Services Helping Hands Program visit us at michaelandsonhelpinghands.com. Also, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube page to find out about upcoming events, special events and much more!
If you have been following Helping Hands for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed a pattern between health and the indoor air quality. For someone who suffers with a chronic illness, extreme temperatures are not just a matter of comfort, sometimes they can be a matter of life and death. It’s so crucial, in some households, the HVAC unit doubles as a life support system. For Caleb Loudermilk, it was a matter of life and death. Caleb was born with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy that left Caleb with the cognitive abilities of a 9 month old child. Suffering from up 100 seizures a day, caring for him was a full time job and left his mother, Amber Burton, unable to work.
When the families A/C system broke down in the dead of a brutal southern Virginia summer, Caleb’s symptoms increased dramatically and he was hospitalized under intensive care for over a month. Because he could not be discharged from the hospital to a home without working A/C, Amber was desperate to have the unit repaired but could not afford the cost. She began to reach out for help and was told about the Michael and Son Cares Program. Shortly after contacting Michael & Son, Caleb’s home had a brand new HVAC system and he was able to return home.
For all of us at Michael & Son who have worked with the Helping Hands Program, December 23rd is solemn day. Three years ago on that day, in the midst of all the holiday cheer, we lost someone who had a profound effect on all of us. Amanda Mahmood was a young, bright and inspirational young lady who suffered from congestive heart failure. We helped her with some home repairs and in return she inspired us to help more families and make a bigger impact.
Three years later, and just a week after that anniversary of Amanda’s passing, a call comes across my desk from a single mother of a disabled child in Richmond, VA with a broken HVAC unit. Recently widowed Cari Browne and her daughter Savannah had been in the cold since Christmas morning and because Cari was providing 24 hour care for her daughter, she was unable to work and definitely couldn’t afford the cost of replacing her homes HVAC unit.
Her daughter, Savannah, was born with a rare gene mutation that caused her to have heart failure as well. The cold temperature in her home was aggravating her condition and they were in desperate need of help. When I spoke with Cari and we talked about Savannah’s condition, I immediately thought of Amanda. It gave the request even more of a sense of urgency and I called Michael & Son CEO, Basim Mansour, who was traveling but gave the green light to have the work done immediately. Within just two days of contacting Michael & Son Services, we were at the Browne’s home installing a brand new HVAC system at no cost. Check out the news story for more details about the job.
Want to find out what happens next? Tune into Helping Hands on NBC, Saturday at 7:00 pm. Also, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube page to find out about upcoming episodes, special events and much more!
When Bobby Hicks returned from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq he didn’t expect to have another battle to fight. A devastating diagnosis of Leukemia left Bobby and his family wondering what the future would hold or if he would have a future at all. Too add to the Hick’s family’s woes, their already problematic HVAC system and water heater gave out just as winter season was beginning. With no where left to turn, the family reached out to the Michael & Son Cares Program.
“When the Hick’s family’s story was brought to my attention, I knew we had to help” said Basim Mansour, Proud Son & Owner of Michael & Son Services. “Here’s a guy who gave so much for his country and asked so little in return; I not only wanted to help them with their home repairs, I wanted to do something really special for Bobby.
The Michael & Son Cares Program and Monumental Sports center had worked in conjunction to plan a special surprise day at a Washington Capitals game for Bobby and his family. When an extended stay at the hospital for intensive treatment foiled those plans, The Cares Program and Monumental Sports decided to bring the Washington Capitals to Bobby. When Bobby Hick’s woke up Sunday morning he didn’t think he would be meeting is idol and star defenseman for the Washington Capitals, Mike Green. Taking time from his busy schedule, Mike Green surprised Bobby at Fairfax Hospital with a signed jersey and skates. It was a moment Bobby and his family won’t soon forget.
Not to far from the Hicks family lives the Schaidt’s and their daughter Jada. Born with complications to her cardiovascular system, Jada had undergone multiple surgeries and lived with a pacemaker since birth. When the families HVAC system stopped working, the family faced a dire situation. Because of Jada’s condition, maintaining a comfortable climate in the home was essential. Faced with financial difficulties due to other health issues within the family, Jada’s mother reached out to the Michael & Son Cares Program. Find out what happens next on Helping Hands, this Saturday at 7:00pm on NBC! Also like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more updates on Helping Hands!
It was a busy week for the community focused team members at Michael & Son! Check out two these two great events!
Team members from Michael & Son Services headed to the James River bike trail and gave it a make over! The team picked up ten bags of trash, helping to keep one of our national treasures looking its best. Check out the pics!
The community out reach didn’t end there; our Baltimore team was out in full force helping out a great cause. Our team members joined together with local volunteers to make over 100 sandwiches for various organizations and churches to be distributed to those in need! Check out the pics!
Michael & Son is back this weekend with another episode of Helping Hands. This week, we meet a family in the making and a couple whose strong bond of over 40 years carried them through an unimaginable tragedy. On a rainy night in Madonna Maryland, Delano Draine was making his way home to his wife. Delano was full of optimism; he was 6 days from retirement and ready for some long overdue relaxation. A hard working man since a young age, Delano spent years in the military and then settled into a job as a corrections officer. The hours were long, the work was dangerous and the stress was tolling; Delano was glad to be done with it. As Delano weaved down the wet and winding road he had no idea his life was about to change forever. Out of nowhere, a deer appeared in the middle of the road, Delano swerved to avoid it and everything went black.
When Delano opened his eyes he was upside down inside is car. He felt a tremendous amount of pain but was still able to fish his phone out of his pocket. His first call was to 9-11 and the second was the hardest call he’s ever had to make. Forty minutes away from where Delano lay suspended in his car, Shelley, his wife, was preparing a late dinner for two. Around 9:15 pm, Shelley received a phone call that left her pale and trembling. The voice on the other end was her husband, he was badly hurt and being rushed to the hospital. Shelley grabbed her bag and raced out the door; she knew it was serious but she had no idea Delano would never walk again.
Delano had nearly severed his spine and there was no hope for recovery, he would require a lifetime of around the clock care. Because the VA and other government agencies could not or would not provide him with the care he needed, Shelley was forced into early retirement and began the painful vocation of caring for a suffering loved one. Because of the ever mounting medical bills, the Draine’s were unable to afford home repairs that were essential to Delano’s well-being. One of those repairs was to the homes furnace, and as the winter grew colder, it became critical that the family had a reliable heating system. That’s when The Michael & Son Cares Program stepped in.
Not too far from the Draine home, Brandi Boxely nervously sat in her cold living room huddled next to a space heater. She could feel her baby kick and every thrust of her tiny feet was like the tick of a clock; Brandi was just weeks away from delivering her baby and her home had no heat. Prior to her pregnancy, Brandi was involved in a serious car accident that left her temporarily disabled and unable to work. With her extended stay at the local hospital over with, Brandi was excited to return home. As she stepped through her front door, she ran into a wall of heat.
While Brandi was recovering in a hospital bed, her HVAC system was in its death throes. After finding out she was pregnant, Brandi set out on a mission to repair or replace her HVAC system. Being out of work and unable to pay her bills left Brandi deeply in debt. As a result, she was not qualified for financing and none of the HVAC contractors in her area were willing to take payments. One Sunday morning, Brandi happened upon “Helping Hands” on NBC. She took down the number at the end of the show and decided to take one last shot at getting assistance..
Want to find out what happens next? Tune into Helping Hands on NBC, Saturday at 7:00 pm. Also, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube page to find out about upcoming episodes, special events and much more!
Michael and Son Services Community Round Up
Michael & Son Services is ever-present in the community. Whether we are assisting families through our Cares Program or pitching in to help a great cause, our employees love to give back whenever they can. We’ve got some exciting events coming up and want to invite all our family and friends to join us! Check out the schedule below –
Monday, February 20th Presidents Day Parade – Join us for the Old Town Alexandria Presidents Day Parade! Michael & Son will be on the parade route, passing out hats, t-shirts and coloring books. We’ll look for you in the crowd! (D.C. / V.A.)
February 15 – February 28th NOLA Tornado Relief – Michael & Son is teaming up with The Second Harvest Food Bank and Bayou Bakery to help collect food for victims of the NOLA tornado. Michael & Son food drops have been set up at the Bayou Bakery locations in Arlington V.A. and D.C. locations. Visit the Second Harvestwebsite to find out what items are needed. (D.C. / V.A.)
Saturday, March 4th Lifting The Silence Gala – Michael & Son Services is a proud supporter of Lifting the Silence Brain Injury Services and will be joining them for their annual gala at the John Marshall Ballroom. If you are looking for a great organization to support, visit the Lifting the Silence website. (Richmond, V.A.)
Saturday, April 1st Ben’s Run – Want to get in shape while supporting a worthy cause? Dust off your running shoes and join us for the Ben’s Run to benefit children with blood disorders. Visit Ben’s Run’s website for more information.
This week on Helping Hands we meet Ben Schust and Betty Parker, two remarkable people with touching stories.
If someone asked you what a SCN2A gene mutation is, you might reply with a blank stare. You wouldn’t be alone; the disorder continues to baffle researchers and medical professionals around the world. SCN2A gene mutations disrupt the brains regulation of the neuronal sodium channels. This disruption leads to epilepsy, autism, intellectual disabilities and developmental delays. The condition is rare and only effects a few thousand children in the US.
We at the Michael & Son Cares Program first came into contact with the disorder back in 2014 when we received a call from a family in Fredrick, Maryland who were in need of a new HVAC system. The Moore family’s twins, 1 year old Nico and Bebo, both suffered from the illnesses. Working with the Moore family gave us insight into not only the day to day difficulties of caring for a child with a rare disease but also the struggles faced by the family to provide their children with proper care.
Because they face so many challenges, the families of children with the SCN2A disorder stick together. Through the network FamiliesSCN2A, we were contacted by another family whose child suffered from the gene disorder. Like the Moore’s, the Schust family’s 5 year old son, Ben, carried the mutation and they too were in need of a new HVAC system.
Betty Parker had longed struggled with financial difficulties and when she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, Betty thought things could not get any worse. One cold fall morning as Betty was going about her normal, daily routine, she found there was no water coming out of her faucets. After a visit from a plumber, Betty learned her well pump had gone bad and the cost to repair it was more than she could afford. After months of living with no running water, Betty had lost all hope; until she discovered The Michael & Son Cares Program.
Want to find out what happened next? Click here to watch Helping Hands Episode 2. You can watch new Helping Hands episodes Saturdays at 7:00pm on NBC4. Also, check out the schedule below for upcoming air dates. Don’t forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel to get updates on upcoming shows and watch full episodes of Helping Hands.
Helping Hands TV Series Schedule:
Saturday Feb. 25th 7:00 pm
Saturday Mar. 4th 7:00 pm
*Due to the 2017 inauguration coverage this Saturday, Episode 1 of Helping Hands has been rescheduled for Saturday, February 4th at 9:30am*
Michael & Son Services continues to give back to the community through its “Michael & Son Cares Program”. In the last few months we have received hundred of applications from people all over VA, MD and DC who are in need of assistance with essential home repairs they can not afford. The popularity of the TV show “Helping Hands”, coupled with the harsh economic climate, has applications pouring in every week. While Michael & Son would like to assist each and every family who reaches out to us, we cannot. Instead we can try to influence and inspire other businesses to do the same. At Michael & Son, we believe it is the responsibility of businesses to help people in the community during their time of need. Much like a politician must serve the constituents in his/her community, a business is obligated to do the same for those that keep their doors open.
While nearly all businesses, small and large, make some sort of contributions to charitable organizations, Michael & Son prefers to be more hands on. Being able to meet the families, see their homes and hear their stories makes for a very rewarding experience. While Michael & Son makes many contributions to charitable organizations, the one on one experience of the Cares Program has proven to be the most rewarding. The smiles on the faces of our Cares Recipientsare far more valuable than any award or citation we could receive.
The Cares Program is an extension of the Michael & Son philosophy. Community service is simply part of our culture as a company. While in the early days of Michael & Son there was no Program designated for community service, the company was always willing to lend a Helping Hand. The beginning of the Cares Program may have dated back to the early 1990’s when a young Basim Mansour (Proud Son and Owner of Michael & Son) was on a call to a home with no power. When Basim arrived he found a small, cramped one level home inhabited by young children and the elderly. It was the dead of winter and the family sat huddled around a rickety space heater. One look at the panel box and Basim knew he was dealing with a very involved and costly job. He also knew that the cost would be well beyond the families means. After speaking with the homeowner, Basim’s instincts proved to be accurate. The family would not be able to afford the work, let alone the small, nominal dispatch fee.
Basim knew he could not leave the family without power and heat but he also knew Michael & Son (at the time) was in no position to be working pro-bono. Basim decided to seek advice from the one man he could always turn to for advice, his late father, Mike. After explaining the situation to his father, he received the advice that he had been waiting to hear. “There is no question about it, make sure the family has heat and power before you leave tonight. It’s our obligation to give back to the community, where would we be without them?” said Basim’s father. Following the phone call, Basim would proceed to work through the night repairing the family’s electrical problem. “When I flipped the switch and the heat kicked on, the faces of the children lit up with joy and their mother began to cry” said Mansour. “That moment was one of the most uplifting experiences of my life; ever since then I’ve been chasing that feeling”.
At Michael & Son, service goes beyond turning a wrench or snaking a drain. It means being woven into the fabric of the community and making a difference every chance we get. We hope that through the work we do, others will be inspired to reach out to those in need. If you or someone you know is in need of help, please contact us by following the Helping Hands link on the Michael & Son homepage. Also, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube page and find out about special events, great savings and much more!
The Michael & Son Cares Program, which helps families with home repairs they cannot afford, recently met a very inspirational young man named Alvin King. Alvin was born with no arms or legs and reached out to the Cares Program for assistance with a faulty and dangerous hot water heater. After meeting Alvin King and his mother, The Michael & Son Cares Program repaired the water heater, then went above and beyond to make Alvin and his mother’s life a little bit easier.
Since the day he was born Alvin King has struggled with adversity. During his mother’s pregnancy, Alvin‘s mother was given a little known drug for nausea with many unknown consequences which were not expressed by her doctor. One rare side effect of the medication was limb loss during the pregnancy term. As as result, Alvin was born with no arms or legs.
Despite the monumental challenges Alvin faces, he always keeps a positive outlook on life and works hard at being as independent as possible. Alvin is able to lift weights, negotiate flights of stairs and even play basketball. One difficulty both Alvin and his mother have been unable to overcome has been transportation. Without a handicapped accessible vehicle, traveling by car is described by Alvin as “painful and dangerous”, causing Alvin to miss physical therapy appointments, family gatherings and most importantly to Alvin, church.
After meeting Alvin King for the first time, Proud Son and owner of Michael & Son Services Basim Mansour decided he would purchase a handicapped accessible van for the King family. “I’ve met a lot of truly amazing people in my life but no one quite like Alvin” said Basim Mansour, Proud Son and Owner of Michael and Son Services. “I found the few hours I spent with Alvin and his mother to be so rewarding, I felt compelled to pay him back” continued Mansour.
See the full story on the Series Premiere of NBC Helping Hands, returning Saturday, January 21st at 9:30am. Check your local listings for airtimes and also, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube page to watch full episodes of Helping Hands on demand!