FRANKLINVILLE — As a caregiver, Lily Barham is used to helping people fulfill their needs.
But when she had needs of her own, others stepped up to help her out.
On Dec. 22, Triad Heating & Air surprised Barham with Publishers Clearing House-type balloons and flowers, and a certificate awarding her with the 2021 Gift of Warmth Heating System Giveaway for her home. Eric Ward, president of the company, said, “Surprise! We want to install your system tomorrow if it’s OK with you. We want to do it before Christmas.”
Barham was tearful, giving Ward a hug, before saying, “This means more than the world. I’m a single mom and my 12-year-old daughter (Isabella) has to depend on me to survive. It meant having to choose between heat and the roof. It feels good that people care so much.”
Ward said the new system is an American Standard heat pump and has a 10-year warranty. Barham has been having problems with her old system for several years, with partial fixes that lasted for short periods.
If that wasn’t enough, she had COVID pneumonia back in September, leaving her lacking in energy. Then in October, she had major surgery and is slowly recovering.
Giving to others is built into Barham, who serves clients with Alberta Professional Services. In fact, she said, “I’m in over my head with my clients.”
That includes taking home a baby and keeping it for four months. Barham said she had plenty of help from her church, Whites Memorial Baptist, as members provided her with diapers and other infant needs. When she had to give the baby back to its parents, Barham said she cried all night.
“I help people with resources,” she said. “I help them with what they need. I love my clients.”
Now Barham has had her needs provided, just in time for the winter season.
“This is like Christmas early,” she said. “I can’t believe you’re doing this.”
Ward, whose Triad Heating & Air is in its fifth year of giving away heat systems, said he received 77 nominations this go-around. Twenty-seven of them were for Barham, including one from her adult son, Steven. Many more were from her church family, who were familiar with her needs.
And, also, her giving spirit, which, in this case, reaped dividends.