Family gets warm gift as cold season nears

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt Three-year-old Charlie Tietel sits on his father Joe’s knee and smiles as Seth Cordes installs the family’s new furnace. Charlie was extremely excited about the new furnace and is even considering heating installation as a future career option

NEW ULM — With cold weather around the corner one local family received the gift of heat.

The Tietel family of New Ulm received a new Lennox furnace at no cost through Lennox’s “Feel the Love” program. Ahrens Heating & Air Conditioning installed the new furnace for the family Friday morning.

“Feel The Love” works to support deserving families or individuals in their community who could benefit from new heating equipment installed prior to the winter weather season.

The Tietel family was nominated for the “Feel the Love” program by an anonymous person connected to their church.

Joe and Shelby Tietel both grew up in the surrounding community and have been married for 11 years. They have two children, six-year-old daughter Mya and three-year-old son Charlie.

Joe works as a mechanic for the New Ulm gas department and Shelby is a home visitor for MVAC for Headstart children and they are members of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

In August 2015, their son Charlie was born. At two-months it was discovered he had a heart murmur. Further tests confirmed he had a congenital heart defect. Charlie had three surgeries by the time he was six-months old. He currently sees eight specialists and must receive immune support every four weeks.

The Tietel family continues to move forward but Charlie’s health concerns continue to a top issue. Shelby said he is going to need more surgeries in the future. His health is like a ticking time-bomb and it needs to be monitored. The installation of a brand new furnace is one way to help the family and give them one less thing to worry about.

The new furnace is 96 percent efficient at heating a home, which is an improvement over their old furnace. Tietel said as an employee of the gas department he understands how the significance of an efficient furnace.

Both Joe and Shelby were surprised to learn they were receiving the furnace.

“I was flabbergasted,” Joe said. “I couldn’t believe it was true.”

“I wish I knew who it was who that nominated us so I could thank them,” Shelby said.

This is the first year of “Lennox’s Feel the Love” program. Previously Lennox had a similar program called “Heat UP,” but this is an expansion of the idea. Lennox is committed to community involvement. Around 24 similar installations are organized throughout Minnesota and another 60 in Wisconsin.

Veleda Cordes with Ahrens Heating & Air Conditioning said the installations nominations can be submitted to any Lennox affiliated providers. The Tietel family’s nomination was submitted through Ahren’s Heating & Air Conditioning.