IONIA, Mich. — UPDATE: After our story aired Tuesday night, the family informed us Jan passed away. FOX 17 expresses our condolences to the family.
Dealing with a sick loved one is tough enough, but when Jamie Helton got an overnight call from her mother Yvonne this past weekend from Ionia, she knew things had gotten worse.
Her father, Jan Wittenbach, is on hospice care at home after suffering a stroke in November, and his home’s heater stopped working in the middle of the night.
“When mom called (the repair company) frantic, she said, 'My husband is sick; he’s on hospice; he’s home; I can’t let him get cold.’ So they knew from her frantic phone call that my dad was sick,” said Jamie.
They called a local company they had used often in the past: Wilson’s Heating, Cooling and Plumbing of Ionia.
Wilson’s was unable to immediately come out because they were tied up with another job, but Jamie says they explained to her mother the best ways to keep the house warm until they could arrive, which was the next morning, Sunday.
Wilson’s quickly got the family’s home warming again, and then the same happened to Yvonne's heart.
“So Mom had her card ready to pay them, and he said he wasn’t charging her," Jamie explained to FOX 17. "And she said, ‘Did you forget your machine?’ And he says, ‘Nope, this one’s on us. Don’t worry about it.'"
On top of that, business owner Bill Wilson went to his car and brought back a bag of cookies that his wife and business partner Nancy had recently baked.
Jamie explained that her parents live on a limited income already, so the gesture was greatly appreciated.
“There is a lot of high deductibles from their Medicare plan that they have to pay, and then end-of-life costs. It just took a ton of weight off my mom’s shoulders, it really did. It really made her cry; she sobbed for a while. I just wanted people in this town to know what a great deed they did and just how much we appreciate them.”
The family has a GoFundMe set up to help with their unexpected expenses for anyone who wants to contribute.