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IYC team helps veteran get heat for first time in years

OKLAHOMA CITY – Christmas came early for an Oklahoma disabled veteran.

For several months, our In Your Corner team’s been working tirelessly to help Cornell Gallagher, a veteran who’s been living without running water and heat for some time now.

He says he was forced to shut off his utilities several years ago after the Federal Government slashed his VA benefits   

When we first met Cornell, he was borrowing water from a neighbor, showering at the VA hospital and using a single space heater to heat his whole house. Cornell

Through it all though, Cornell never stopped smiling.   

He said, “There are others out there who are at a worse place than I am.”

With the assistance of the VA and Upward Transitions, we helped Cornell apply for food stamps, got him a haircut, new winter clothes and medical attention.

Meanwhile, Cornell’s church family and Upward Transitions pitched in to get Cornell’s utility bills caught up.

Courtesy Plumbing repaired the water line.      

The home’s water heater wasn’t up to code either, so Ferguson Enterprises donated a brand new one. 

“Something deep down inside, you just want to give to other people,” Ferguson Enterprises sales executive Preston Williams said.

Our one final task was turning on Cornell’s gas.

Zach Houston and Courtesy Plumbing hooked up the water heater, ran a gas pressure test, re-routed gas lines and repaired leaks.

“I was under the house, in the attic, on the roof, had to re-pipe some of the gas distribution,” Houston said.

City inspectors made sure the gas line was safe and ONG did the rest!  

“We got on the horn with everybody last night and said here’s what’s happening,” ONG spokeswoman Cherokee Ballard said. “Channel 4 has done some great things to get a plumber and all this work done to get him some heat in this house, so we jumped in last night, started to doing research and then came out this morning.”

Friday, Cornell turned on his heat for the first time in more than four years!

“Wow! I just can’t find the words,” Cornell said. Cornell at church

Cornell was already paying it forward, preparing meals at his church for the less fortunate, something he’s done for six years now.

With each scoop, he serves up a helping of love and community. 

He said, “One of my mottos of the years has been to not allow my disabilities to come my total inability, to give back and do something.”