CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Many people will be turning on the heat Friday night in response to an arctic blast hitting Hampton Roads, and so will a mother and son in Chesapeake.
However, when we first introduced you to Cynthia Lopez and Ritchie Barnes last Friday, that wouldn’t have happened. Their 29-year-old heater had gone kaput, and Cynthia has terminal cancer. They heated their mobile home by stove for almost two weeks. On Friday, all that changed thanks to a generous donation.
One week ago, James Spagnuolo with Michael & Son Services showed up in the mobile home that Cynthia Lopez shares with her son Ritchie, and simply changed their lives by making this promise: “Michael & Son is going to step in, and we are going to take care of you, and make you right.”
Cynthia can’t speak due to past throat cancer, but Ritchie said: “Oh, thank you very much,” and then both mother and son wept.
One week later a big truck is parked outside their mobile home. The old heater scrapped in the front yard, and you can see the fuse that caught fire.
“It caught fire, and I’m glad the house didn’t burn down,” Ritchie said.
The fact is, parts are no longer available for a 29-year-old system.
We were there when Michael & Son heat pump installers Carlos and Emerson were installing the new heat pump, the new air handler, and the new A-frame coil to cool and heat passing air. Outside, Emerson was digging the ground to make it level. He put down the protective pad, and on top put the heat pump.
Back inside, Cynthia’s had a rough day. She is tired, laying in a bed in the living room, but thankful to Michael and Son’s Roddy Leiva for all they have done. “It’s a pleasure to meet you mam,” he says. Cynthia mouths the words “thank you very much.” Leiva responds: “That is fine, and you are very welcome.”
The timing of the installation could not come at a better time. “It is going to be freezing, and having that new heater in here is going to be amazing. We are going to be warm, and I don’t need to worry about her getting sicker so it will be great,” Ritchie says.
For Leiva it was a no-brainer to help Cynthia and Ritchie.
“We said, ‘hey we have this family that needs help’ and management didn’t hesitate one bit to say ‘hey, let’s get it done. ”
They got it done. Ritchie says.
“I want to say to all of you, I appreciate all you have done because when the man told me…a new system would cost…$5,000…I knew we were going to freeze to death…because we couldn’t afford it…with your alls help, it’s a big relief it really is,” Ritchie said.
Leiva responded: “It is our pleasure to help you guys out and to make sure you are taken care of.” Ritchie then said, “and thank you WAVY-TV 10. Thank you for your help getting these people. I appreciate it.”
We are pleased to report that at mid-afternoon, heat started flowing in Cynthia and Ritchie’s mobile home. The heat is on!