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Navy veteran wins WQOW’s ‘Make Somebody Cool AC Giveaway’

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Kelly and Lance Sorensen AC layered

EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - Temperatures are beginning to rise, but not everyone can afford to stay cool.

That's why WQOW teamed up with a local business for the "Make Somebody Cool AC Giveaway."

Kelly Sorensen of Eau Claire nominated her husband Lance for the giveaway, and he won.

"We were pretty surprised and excited," Kelly Sorensen said.

Kelly said Lance served in the Navy for four years, and now he works as a correctional officer in Stanley, but he also has a disability.

"He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a few years ago and the heat is really something that bothers patients with MS."

Even with insurance, his treatments are not cheap.

"His infusions cost, they're probably about $60,000 per year," Sorensen said.

While installing the brand new air conditioner, Wiersgalla Plumbing and Heating came across a problem with the couple's old furnace.

"We found some very serious cracks in the heat exchanger and so the lucky winners here will actually get a new air conditioner and a brand new furnace for no cost," said Dan Wiersgalla, co-owner and vice president of Wiersgalla Plumbing and Heating Company.

Wiersgalla said a cracked heat exchanger could eventually lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, so they couldn't just leave it alone.

"Being able to connect with our customers on a heartfelt level. We see systems come and go. A lot of business in, out the doors. This just brought a deeper sense of meaning to what we do in our trade to do this," Wiersgalla said.

Sorensen said her husband plans to retire this summer or fall, so this free service will truly help their financial situation.

"It means a lot to us. It's money we don't have to spend on this, and we can really invest it somewhere else that's needed somewhere else like his hospital bills or on the house," Kelly Sorensen said.

Wiersgalla said getting a new air conditioner and furnace, plus installation, normally costs around $4,800 to $6,000.

Katrina Lim

Katrina Lim joined the News 18 team in August 2019 as a multimedia journalist. She was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey but has lived in all time zones of the contiguous U.S.A.

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