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Heat for the Holidays winner

GERONIMO, Okla_A Geranimo family will not have to brave the upcoming winter without heat -- thanks to the generosity of our community.

As you know, 7 News joined forces with Pippin Brothers, for the 'Heat for the Holidays' campaign. It was a chance for people to nominate a family in need of a new heater -- the recipient gets a new one installed. Hundreds responded and now, a winner has been chosen.

Leslie Elkins and her three children will now receive heat, just in time for the holidays.

Leslie says her grandmother nominated her for the contest. She's also the one who told her the good news. It was a call Leslie never expected to get.

"I was so excited! I wanted to cry... A lot of emotions."

"My grandma had mentioned that she put my name in for something, but I wasn't quite sure what. The phone was cutting in and out, but I could understand that I had won."

And it could not have come at a better time. Leslie has faced some tough challenges with her nearly 100 year old house.  Among the problems,  these wall heaters. They aren't very efficient.

"They just let me know that they really aren't safe either so, they need to be ventilated," Leslie said.

According to experts, they're down right dangerous to use. Journeyman plumber, John McLaughlin tells us why.

"It will put too much water vapor in the air and that could hurt people with asthma or other breathing difficulties. It will also put trace amounts, possibly, of carbon monoxide in the air."

But Leslie can't even use the wall heaters, and hasn't been able to for three months now, because experts found a major problem with her gas line.

"They detected a gas leak so they pulled my meter," Leslie told us. "They didn't tell me much just that they would not be back until I had a plumber come and fix everything."

She says she tried everything to get help with the costly challenge of fixing the problems, but came up empty handed. Since then, her and her children have been making do without gas and heat.

"Thank goodness the weather has been pretty good. The few nights it did get really cold, you know, we had to use electric heaters."

But now, things are looking up for the Elkins family. Not only will they get a brand new heating unit professionally installed by Pippin Brothers, but they'll also get their gas line fixed. A gift that Leslie is so thankful for.

"I feel extremely blessed. I'm at a loss for words. I'm still shocked really."

Pippin Brothers are already in the planning stages of installing the heating unit and fixing the gas line. It adds up to about 3,000 dollars worth of work.

But Leslie wont have to pay a dime.

Pippin Brothers donates the system and their workers volunteer their time to get the job done.
They hope to have everything up and running within the next few weeks.

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