Gulf war vet gifted free heating and cooling units from anonymous source

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – It’s been a very warm and dry summer here in KELOLAND. While most would stay inside to cool off, others weren’t so lucky.

Mike and Kathy Hansen have been married for more than 20 years. That’s almost as long as their A.C. unit was running, which was 22 years old. It finally gave out early this summer leaving them without cold air. That is, until two weeks ago. That’s when a few people came together to do something very ‘cool’ for them.

In 1991, veteran Mike Hansen was deployed to serve on the frontlines in the Gulf War for six months as a part of Desert Storm. It was there he not only faced the heat of war, but also the climate.

Courtesy: Mike & Kathy Hansen

“It was hot… my last week in Saudi Arabia was in May.. and it was between 128 to 132 degrees everyday,” Mike Hansen said.

He came home in 1992. In his early thirties he developed Cerebellar Ataxia. A condition that cost him his ability to walk, impacted his hearing and his breathing.

“With this disease, it constricts my muscles.. so, it makes it more difficult to breathe… and with the heat being hotter, it was even harder to breathe,” Mike Hansen said.

Mike and Kathy Hansen

In May, Mike and his wife Kathy’s heating and cooling system in their home shut down. Leaving them without air conditioning through summer, and no heat for the up and coming winter.

“It was warm… I related it a lot to being in the desert,” Mike Hansen said.

Hansen says the intense heat not only aggravated his condition but also his PTSD.

“Being warmer triggers my anger worse,” Mike Hansen said.

Replacing it themselves would’ve cost around $8,000. Without having the funds available tensions and temperatures were running high.

“We were trying and trying, but due to his disabilities, we would take out a home equity loan to remodel the house for him the bathroom and everything for him and we’d run out of funding for that part of it,” Kathy said.

Having nowhere else to turn, they shared their story on Facebook. It caught the attention of Howe Inc., and just a few days later someone gave Kathy a call offering to replace their 20 year old unit.

“I was working and I pulled over and I was in tears because I had been stressing so bad over this and… when he called me I was just astounded over this. Our friends reached out and said there was a veteran in need and Howe ran with it and instantly came to the calling for us,” Kathy said.

Today, Kathy and Mike are feeling cool, calm and blessed thanks to this random act of kindness.

“It was a blessing… that somebody reached out and helped a veteran in need,” Mike Hansen said.

“When you’re struggling, you can’t give up. You have to keep looking for that angel because there’s one out there… and I found ours, finally,” Kathy said.

Hansen served in active duty from 1988 to 1996 adding up to a total of 8 years of service.

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