The Family of William and Laura Zurakov of Woodstock, Illinois is a study of the bedrock of the construction trades. William, two of his uncles, and a cousin worked at a pool contracting firm, building and repairing swimming pools. Their eldest son worked at Holman Boiler Works (now Cleaver Brooks) before moving on to work for an HVAC contractor. He now works for a lightning protection company installing lighting systems in IBEW 134. Another son worked for a kitchen and bath contractor refinishing countertops, cabinets, and bathtubs. Their youngest son worked for Encore Wire before going to work for a paving contractor. Laura told me what he really wants however is to attend the University of Illinois for their welding program.
His health problems started in 2013 with diabetes followed by a triple bypass in 2017. On top of these, he has back issues, stomach and kidney problems, and more. He is now limited in his ability to walk very far, so they requested a bath remodel to include a walk-in shower. The foundation worked with an area contractor to fulfill their need, and the shower was installed in September 2022.
At that point, Laura told us “I just want to say thank you again. My husband has been taking a shower every day now and it really helps both of us. Words cannot express my gratitude.”.
Two months later Laura contacted me to let me know her reverse osmosis system had failed. They are on well water and have a septic field for their plumbing. She said they knew it would need to be replaced, but the money they had saved for that purpose was used up after Covid significantly cut back her work hours. One of the board members on the foundation knew of an organization in this field that pointed us to contacts that might be able to help.
A manufacturer of reverse osmosis equipment who is also aligned with the Service Nation organization agreed to donate the equipment if we would pay for a water softener (which they do not manufacture) and installation labor. A month later it looked like we had found a contractor who could come out and test the well water and who would be willing to donate their labor...
After not hearing anything from the contractor we found out the individual we were working with had left the organization and the new manager said they were too busy to take on this project because of the below zero weather. We were now in January. It seemed for the next three months that every step forward was met by three steps back. Weather, work backlogs and other issues conspired to thwart our every attempt to make progress on this effort. By mid April it was clear we needed to find another contractor which the manufactur helped us with. During May the new contractor surveyed the jobsite and took more water samples, conveying the information to the manufacturer so the proper RO system could be specified. The equipment was then ordered and during June it was finally installed – nine months after the initial request! In a continuing act of kindness the installing contractor charged us for the labor and water softener at his cost.
When everything had finally been completed, Laura told us, “Thank you for your diligence! Your organization is wonderful, and we really appreciate it. It is great to have decent water again.”