The days were getting colder, which only added to the worry.
Paul Goodrich and his wife Debbie had endured a difficult year. Goodrich suffered a heart attack in July, compounding the health woes the Vietnam War veteran and volunteer firefighter was already dealing with. The attack left him unable to work as a truck driver, making it difficult to even cover everyday costs.
So when the Brown County couple’s heating and air conditioning unit went out, they had no chance of replacing it themselves.
“It being the summer, we knew we could live without air conditioning. But not without heat,” he said. “And it was starting to get cold.”
The Goodriches found relief through Dave and Missie Carlile, who own Heating + Air Paramedics in Trafalgar. Through a company program, the Carliles were able to provide Goodrich with a new furnace in time for winter.
Dave Carlile is a longtime volunteer firefighter himself and knew Goodrich through the service. To ensure that he had heat this winter, considering all that Goodrich had done serving his country and community, goes to the core of what being a volunteer firefighter is all about, Dave Carlile said.
The same thing could be said about their approach to their business, he added.
“I look at it as being a volunteer firefighter. If there’s a house fire, I have to be there. If someone has no heat, we have to be there,” he said. “To be able to help someone in true need with everything we could so is pretty awesome, and I couldn’t do it for a better person.”
Much of Goodrich’s life has been dedicated to service. He joined the U.S. Air Force, and served in the Vietnam War in 1967 and 1968. He was stationed at Tuy Hoa Air Base, a strategic base located on the Vietnam coast, where he flew air rescue missions. He remains close with the other veterans who served at Tuy Hoa; he is active in the Tuy Hoa Air Base Reunion, which brings those who were stationed at the base together to reconnect.
After his discharge from the Air Force, Goodrich joined the Indianapolis Fire Department before taking a job driving a truck and working for volunteer fire departments throughout Brown County
Increasingly, Goodrich has struggled with health issues, including three previous heart attacks and a diagnosis of prostate cancer. His fourth and most recent heart attack left him without an adequate source of income.
Then, their heating and air conditioning system failed.
“If it hadn’t been for these folks, we’d be in deep trouble,” Goodrich said.
Goodrich contacted Heating + Air Paramedics in Trafalgar to have it looked at, and learned that the system was unsalvagable.
He didn’t know what he was going to do. His daughter and son-in-law, as well as their two young children, live with the Goodriches. They’d need heat.
“We had to have a furnace,” Goodrich said. “I couldn’t sleep at night worrying about it.”
Goodrich asked if there was anything the Carliles could help with. They had known each other since 2000 through volunteer fire departments in Brown County.
But initially, the Carliles did not think they had the resources to help.
The couple has been in the heating and air conditioning business for more than 20 years. Originally founded as Dave Carlile Heating and Cooling in Brown County in 1999, the couple and their employees worked to not only provide superior customer service, but to make an impact in their communities, Missie Carlile said.
“Dave and I have always helped people. That’s what we do,” she said. “We try any avenue we can to help people, whether that’s through our own ability to discount, or any other ways.”
Four years ago, they moved their shop to Trafalgar, and decided to become a franchise of Heating + Air Paramedics in 2022. The move opened up additional opportunities to help customers.
Heating + Air Paramedics offers franchisees the opportunity to be part of the Trane Comfort Specialist program. Trane, a manufacturer of heating, venting and air conditioning systems, partners with dealers who meet benchmarks of customer service.
Once accepted in the Trane Comfort Specialist program, dealers such as Heating + Air Paramedics can qualify for benefits, including a “Do What’s Right” opportunity to provide an equipment donation to a person in need.
“We’d been wanting to do this thing for years through Dave Carlile, but never had the resources or backing to do it,” Dave Carlile said. “That gave us the opportunity to do the kind of thing we did helping Paul. As a franchisee, we had the connections to be able to help.”
Once the Carliles realized that they could use this program to help Goodrich, they pounced.
“We couldn’t let them be without. So we thought, what are we going to do?” Missie Carlile said.
Going through the Trane Comfort Specialist program, they were able to secure a new furnace for Goodrich and his family, who became the first people assisted by the benefit. In October, the new furnace was installed. Technicians from Heating + Air Paramedics have been out a few times to help Goodrich figure out the new system as well.
“The house has been just as warm as warm could be. It’s just awesome; I can’t say enough about these people,” Goodrich said.
The situation demonstrated the potential for the Carliles to provide more assistance, as well. Since Goodrich became the first beneficiary, they have used the Trane Comfort Specialist program to help an additional three people.
“Being a volunteer firefighter, you have to have a ‘help the community’ mentality,” he said. “This fit for who we stood for. It makes you feel good when you can help like this.”