DeLand HVAC Students Act as Local Heroes
The classroom often isn’t the place where instructor Hored Salmon teaches his HVAC course to FTC DeLand hvac students.
Salmon takes an approach to teaching that combines hands-on experience with community service, creating a winning combination in which students learn in a real work environment while helping their neighbors.
Dionette Rivera, 27, can attest to that. Last winter, her heater wouldn’t start on a very cold night. It was the latest problem in a long line of issues Rivera, a single mother of four, had with her AC/heater unit since she bought her Deltona house. Even though the equipment was still under warranty, she couldn’t get the company who installed it to respond to her calls. Rivera didn’t know what else to do when it occurred to her to call Florida Technical College in DeLand for help. She had recently received her hair stylist diploma at FTC and knew about its HVAC program.
“I don’t like to ask for favors,” said Dionette, who works full time as a daycare teacher and does hair part time to make ends meet. “But I really needed help and didn’t know where else to turn. The problem with the AC system was making it very difficult for the kids and I to sleep. The house was either muggy or freezing most of the time, and I was out of money.”
Salmon was touched by the young mother’s situation and sprang into action.
“She’d paid $5,000 for a new AC unit and the company that installed it had done a terrible, terrible job,” Salmon said. “It didn’t even seem they had licensed technicians involved. The whole thing made me mad.”
Salmon and his team — students Ryan Furber, Jarrid Race, John Clark, and Michael Pruitt and HVAC instructor Jacob Osterhut — rolled up their sleeves and went to work. They picked apart the AC unit and rebuilt the entire thing. They ran new pipes underground and then flushed the system clean because it had become infested with mold and acid, which could spread to the home’s walls. It was a complex task that the HVAC crew tackled with dedication and compassion.
“I am very proud of the students who helped,” Salmon said. “They put in long hours, were eager to help and kept the best attitude.”
The end result, Rivera said, was perfection.
“My unit is working without any hiccups and my power bill has gone down quite a bit,” she said. “The FTC guys were such a blessing.”
Salmon is glad that he and his students made a difference. There was no charge for their services.
“We do things like this all the time,” he said. “We want to be relevant to the neighborhoods we are in. We help the community by lending a hand to someone who really needs it and, at the same time, our students get real-world experience.
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