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Shelter staying comfortable thanks to donation

When it comes to helping people, Quality Gas Contractors likes to do it in a big way.

They recently helped out the Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless when they teamed up to provide the facility with a new heating and cooling unit n valued at $25,000 n and install it free.

“I never got excited about an air conditioning unit before, not even in my own home,” said Alecia Gregg, the director of the shelter. “It was something that was needed.”

Gregg said the former unit was more than 15 years old, and was starting to go bad during the hot days this past summer.

“We went out and purchased box fans,” she said. “We had days when it was 90-plus degrees.”

Quality Gas Contractors is made up of several different contractors who provided time, services and materials, all at no cost. The 12 businesses are Atlantic Shores Heating and Cooling, Bennett’s Creek Heating and Cooling, Clem’s Heating and Cooling, Copeland’s Refrigeration, Heating and Electrical, Eure Heating and Cooling, Suffolk Sheet Metal, McDonald Plumbing, Evans Inc., Ferguson Enterprises, Lyon Conklin, Noland Company and R.E. Michel Co.

“They came at seven in the morning,” said Gregg. “It was such a group effort.

“We would have gone into our funds” for the money if QGC hadn’t helped out, Gregg said. “But now that’s $25,000 that continues to benefit the community.”

The effort was spearheaded by Cola Cobb, who is the chairman of QGC, and also serves on the board for the homeless shelter.

“Everyone donated their time,” Cobb said. “We’ve been trying to get this together for a long time.”

Cobb said the new unit not only works better than the old one, but also is also more efficient.

The new unit has a seasonal-energy-efficiency ratio of 13, Cobb said. The rating on the old one was eight. That basically translates to cost- and energy-efficiency, both in the amount of gas it burns and electricity it uses, he said.

“It’s so much more efficient equipment than what the old stuff was.”

“We’re looking forward to saving a little on utilities,” Gregg said.

The system also has a digital thermostat, right outside her office, which makes it easy to adjust the temperature in the building, Gregg said.

Cobb said QGC tries to do something positive in the community once or twice a year, but this is by far the biggest project they’ve taken on n with the possible exception of building the shelter in 1991, at a cost of $1.

The shelter currently houses 26 people, Gregg said, including 17 children and 9 adults. As a non-profit organization, it depends solely on donations from individuals and groups, as well as grants.

“The main idea is helping those that are less fortunate,” Cobb said.

Cobb shrugs off his own involvement in the project.

“I’m not anyone myself,” he said. “The Bible tells me to help your fellow man if he needs help, and that’s what I did.”

Gregg said she’s pleased with the new system.

“It works like a charm. Christmas came early for the shelter this year.”

To find out more about the shelter, or make a donation, call 934-1353 or e-mail suffolkshelter@charterinternet.com.

tracy.agnew@suffolknewsherald.com