New furnace awarded to family in need

Dawn Olledick and her husband Mick take a gamble on their heater every year – between medical bills and heat, they’re fighting quite a battle this winter.

Mick Olledick has brain cancer, caused by an inoperable tumor. More than a decade ago, Mick built a home for his family – now, on bad days, he can’t remember how to use a wrench.

” Mick’s a fighter, and we’ve all been family together for him,” said Mick’s mother-in-law, Barbara Meltesen, through tears. “It’s been difficult, but I try to be there for him.”

But now, Mick and his family had one less thing to worry about. Don’s Plumbing and Heating teamed up with Lennox Furnace on Saturday to install a new furance for the Ollendick family, free of charge.

“It’s that feel-good factor, doing something good for the community, neighbor to neighbor, helping out, said Peter Hartung from Don’s Plumbing.

It’s part of a program called Heat UP Wisconsin. Lennox furnace companies have been spending their weekend buying and installing furnaces for families in need across Upper Michigan and Wisconsin.

“Right now, across the entire state, a furnace is going in somewhere for somebody,” Hartung said.

Winners for the Heat UP Wisconsin program are chosen through an application process – one that Mick and Dawn didn’t even know about. In fact, the furnace came as a complete surprise to the couple and their son Dawson.


That’s because Dawn’s mother Barbara was the one to send in an application on behalf of the Ollendicks.

Barbara had a hard time explaining her decision to apply for her daughter’s family without getting choked up.

“I’m glad they’re the ones….” she said, then paused for a long moment. “I get emotional.”

There’s been strong support behind Mick, even through multiple surgeries and two strokes that forced him to re-learn how to walk and talk. His daughter Melissa, who lives in California now, called in to be there with him as the new furnace was installed.

Dawn said it’s the little things like that phone call, that shows how a little bit of faith and a whole lot of family has helped guide this couple through their hard times.

“If it wasn’t for family, I probably wouldn’t be able to keep my job,” she said.

Dawn added she can’t even begin to thank Don’s Plumbing for what they’ve given her family – heat, and some hope for the future.

“I appreciate them taking part in this and volunteering their time. It’s amazing. It just shows what community does for community,” she said.