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DRAPER -- When Dawna Olsen answered her front door Friday morning, she didn't know how much warmer things were going to get this winter.
The Olsens have faced several financial setbacks in the last few years. Brent Olsen was out of work for 11 months before securing a job in California, and during that time he suffered a diabetic coma, leaving the uninsured family with $32,000 in medical bills. A couple weeks ago, the family's home furnace broke, requiring replacement, costing upwards of $6,000.
Since they lost their heat, the family has been using space heaters, electric blankets and bundling up to keep warm. They had resolved that they wouldn't have a heated house this winter, when they were faced with the choice to bring Brent home from his work in California or replace the unit.
When a local furnace company found out about the Olsen's story, they wanted to help. At first they offered the space heaters the family used, and were working with the Olsen family for a heating solution. But when the owners of the company heard of the family, they decided to take action.
"We look for stories throughout the year that really touch us and that we can't turn away from, and this is one of them," said Nate DiPalma, Public Relations representative for Action Heating and Cooling. "Being a few days from Christmas, this is very special to Action. Everyone at Action wants to do whatever they can to help the community, and this family is very deserving."
Action donated a new furnace and installation to the family. Brent arrived from California with it, wearing a Santa suit and beard as part of the surprise.
The couple, whose three college-aged children had offered to sell their textbooks to help pay for the furnace repair, were grateful for the donation and the compassion of people.
"(I feel) nothing but gratitude to have wonderful people who personally try to do something to help," Dawna said.