Times have been hard for Brian Pelish and his family since he was medically discharged by the Army in 2006.
The former automotive-logistics specialist got a job with Honeywell Instruments shortly after returning to Hinesville from Fort Hood, Texas, where he was discharged. However, he did not receive an initial disability rating and compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs until one year later. His wife, Kim, takes care of their special-needs son, Jaheem, and is unable to work.
Pelish made use of his military-logistics training for his job with Honeywell, maintaining the thermostat company’s service package and dispatching its vehicles. However, that job ran out on him last year.
“The VA finally diagnosed me with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2012,” he said. “I had a 40 percent disability rating from the VA for my diabetes, but they dropped that to 20 percent when they recognized the PTSD. I currently have a 60 disability rating.”
The Pelishes have been married for nearly 13 years, and Brian Pelish said he was in the Army 12 years, nine months and 20 days. They bought the Hinesville house they live in when he was assigned to Fort Stewart and kept it when he was reassigned. He said the air-conditioning unit that came with the home, which was built in 1997, had not been working as it should. He hoped it only needed more coolant and called for a technician to check it.
Having been laid off from Honeywell for nearly a year, he knew they couldn’t afford major repairs or, especially, a replacement air-conditioning unit.
“We initially had a technician come out here,” said Willy McCree, owner and manager of Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning. “The technician said the old unit needed to be replaced, but Mr. Pelish was an unemployed, disabled veteran. He couldn’t qualify for financing.
“I talked with the folks at Lennox about helping this disabled veteran and his family. They agreed to donate the (high-volume air-conditioning) system, and we agreed to donate the installation and service. This system retails for about $4,600 installed.”
McCree said that last week, his technicians installed the new 2-ton heat-pump system for the Pelishes’ three-bedroom, 1,700-square-foot home. He said his company has worked with and helped veterans before by greatly discounting the cost of a unit. This was the first time they installed a new unit that was donated by the dealer.
“We didn’t know what was going on,” Pelish said. “We thought they were still trying to get us qualified for financing and knew it was going to be a problem ... Being unemployed for 11 months is not good. The next thing I knew, they were calling me on the phone about installing it.”
Pelish said that less than a week after he got the phone call about installing the system, he got a call from the Fort Stewart commissary about a job. He said he always heard that “good things come in threes.” His family has received a new heat pump for free, and he’s working again. He’s hoping the third “good thing” will be news from the VA that it’s decided to recognize his other service-connected disabilities.
“I just want to say that we’re truly thankful for what (Aire Serv and Lennox) have done for us,” Kim Pelish said. “We’ve been truly blessed.”