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Deserving U.S. Army veteran receives free furnace from local heating company

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Decorated United States Army Veteran Kevin Grainger has waged combat and contention most of his days.

“I was with the Army, but I was attached to fifth group, third battalion and I was part of special operations command,” said Grainger. “I only did one tour of Iraq. The actual war part of it, I was with fifth group and we would just out and find them.”

An injury in 2004 brought him back to South Bend.

“I got injured, and then I was at the VA system in the Army up until July of 2004 when I got my honorable discharge,” he said. “I’ve had this house for 23 years.”

But for the last 13 of 23 years, he and his family have basically lived without heat.

Grainger explained, “We’ve been using electric heat. Sometimes you can’t control a situation. And being tasked with being a single parent and trying to adjust to things and keep things in balance, and try to figure out what you’re gonna do. Sometimes things get away from you.”

On Friday, just three days before Christmas, Grainger got the gift of a toasty home.

Laughing, he said, “I’m happy this is happening. Trust me, this is a good Christmas present.”

“Each year, we select a needy veteran, give them a new furnace, install it for them right before the holiday season to make sure they have a nice, warm, merry Christmas,” said Bartt smith, Henry Smith Plumbing Heating and Cooling.

Habitat for Humanity along with Henry Smith Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling, teamed up to make this veteran’s Christmas one for the books.

“For us, this is a huge program to be a part of, the season of giving with Christmas and all, and being able to help them out so they can enjoy the holiday with their family in a comfortable environment. That’s enormous. That’s just a huge, huge benefit,” said Smith.

Grainger said, it’s even more than what he imagined.

“It’s going to be pretty amazing. It’s something that hasn’t happened in a long time. I can’t guarantee I won’t have some tears of joy, but you know, I’m pretty happy,” he said.

And he’s happy to know people still care.

Grainger said, “They’re good people and I wish I could do more for them. It’s nice to have something go my way every once in a while.”

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