PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A disabled veteran and his daughter finally have heat back in their home after being left in the lurch by a repairman working without the required license.
Tom Greene has been spending his second winter in one room next to a space heater because the main heat in their house hasn’t worked for a year. The system went out just days after Tom lost his wife, who died unexpectedly on Christmas Day 2018.
KOIN 6 News first met Tom Greene in his Coos Bay home in January. He was spending a second winter huddled next to a space heater in one room because the main heat in the house hadn’t been working for over a year.
The Oregon Construction Contractors Board blames Tom’s heating troubles on a man named Kevin Glen Whiting. The CCB says Whiting is an unlicensed contractor who took about $5,000 from Tom and his daughter to fix their heating system in January of 2019 but instead left them in the cold.
“The temperatures in the house got down to the 40s, just for months,” said Tom’s daughter, Diane. “For months, we were just so cold. You ever have rolling chills? We had rolling chills.”
The state of Oregon calls Whiting a “habitual offender” and, despite having been busted by the CCB six times, he hasn’t stopped.
KOIN 6 News’ Dan Tilkin was unable to get Whiting to meet him for an interview, despite multiple attempts. Other customers who weren’t happy with Whiting’s work came forward and invited Tilkin to their home to ask Whiting some questions.
Whiting hastily packed up his tools and left when Tilkin approached him.
“All I can say is I have taken care of a lot of people, I make sure I do,” Whiting said at the time.
After the original story aired, KOIN 6 viewers donated nearly $1,000 to the Greenes to help them pay for a new heating system. But it wasn’t enough.
That’s when Tabitha Messenger and Pacific Air Comfort stepped in to help. As the company was making plans to get the Greenes a new heating system, a family contacted KOIN wanting to help while staying anonymous. The family donated $4500. Their money, and Pacific Air Comfort’s expertise combined to bring the Greenes’ heating system back to life.
“I can’t say how good it is to have heat,” Tom said. “We’ve been cold for so long.”
“There was a very big donor and their generosity made it all possible,” Diane said. “Now neither one of us is suffering from the cold, the intense cold. I can’t even tell you how bad it was.”
Father and daughter were grateful beyond words for the kindness of strangers. They said their home was so cold that it took days to warm back up after the heating system was fixed. But the days of sitting next to a space heater, confined to one room, are over.
“The physical pain is less, almost gone, because of the heat,” Tom said. “I just don’t know how to say it: a big thank-you goes to each and every one out there.”
Always get a recommendation from a friend when you’re hiring a contractor. Check to see if they have a license in good standing.
You can call the CCB and ask to have older records searched or click here to search for active licenses.
The CCB suggests customers also file complaints with the State Attorney General’s Office.