Austin, AK (PressExposure) December 12, 2013 -- AiRCO Mechanical, an Austin heating and air company that has served the area for three decades, participated in this year's Operation Blue Santa event - a non-profit organized by the Austin Police Department and other civic organizations. AiRCO's participation in the 41-year-old tradition occurred weeks after the company's humanitarian efforts after the Onion Creek flooding on Halloween, which took multiple lives and displaced over 1,100 residents from their homes.
The HVAC company's staff members donated a total of $420 towards the Blue Santa toy drive, and then the company matched the donations dollar for dollar for a total donation of $840.
"Our employees and AiRCO decided it was a good cause," said owner, Wes Stearns, "and we wanted to reach out to the children to make sure everyone had a good Christmas - no matter how unfortunate they are."
Stearns and other team members spent the money at Toys R Us, where they filled three large bags with purchases. The toys were carried through the annual Chuy's Children Giving to Children parade on Sat., Nov. 30, which ended with all of the participating sponsors delivering their gifts to the Blue Santa's helpers waiting to receive them. The toys will be wrapped, then delivered along with a complete Christmas dinner to over 3,800 families throughout the Austin area on Sat., Dec. 14.
In the meantime, AiRCO continues their humanitarian efforts in the Onion Creek neighborhood, where they have been providing a different kind of warmth and cheer to locals. After the area flooded, hundreds of families were left without heat, and the company stepped forward to donate their time and resources to restoring heat to the victims' homes.
Operations manager Chip Barnett, who lives in the Onion Creek area, "went home to home, helping folks get their furnaces going," said Stearns. The company paid for a tractor rental for an entire week, and Barnett tirelessly donated his time helping people haul their debris away.
As the company wraps up its second year with the Blue Santa event and its Onion Creek humanitarian project, Stearns says he and his employees are still on stand by - now and always - hoping to warm both hearts and homes during the holiday season, and the rest of the year, too.