Assured Comfort Heating & Air Services
by: Troops to Trades
November 7, 2014
“I believe in veterans and I believe in children! Those are the two groups that need a break.”
This is a philosophy that Jerry Hall of Assured Comfort Heating & Air Services in Atlanta, GA lives by through his pledge to help veterans and their families in his community. Jerry started his work in 2004 by supporting the families of deployed soldiers, and he continues to help veterans as they return and reenter the civilian workforce. He is enthusiastic about the Troops to Trades program because it helps veterans find work in an industry he is passionate about.
A veteran himself, Jerry is a great example of a dedicated soldier that has continued his vision of service after leaving the military by providing opportunities and support for other vets. As a part of the 82nd Airborne Division from 1977-80, Jerry credits the military with changing his life. This is the reason why he feels compelled to serve those that protect our country.
Jerry is also deeply committed to the plumbing, HVAC and electrical communities because of how it impacted his life after the military. When he left the military, Jerry found employment in a plastics molding company. “It was about 145 degrees in the building and everyone hung out in the one room that was air conditioned.” Recognizing the value of air conditioning and how it improved the lives of those he worked with, Jerry made the decision to start his first air conditioning company. He later started Assured Comfort in 2002.
It wasn’t long before Jerry found a way to unite his current business venture with his dedication to military personnel and veterans.
In 2004, Jerry met Diane Moore who was a volunteer with Soldier’s Angels. Together, they started a program for his local Air National Guard. He contacted the company commander and was adamant that they allow him to provide air conditioning service free of charge to their active military personnel and their families. His offer included everything up to the replacement of systems if needed. “If you are at war, you don’t pay!” In the first year, 15 wives of deployed servicemen called Assured Comfort to use the program. When the Air National Guard returned home, Jerry was honored with a special award at a private luncheon held to thank Jerry, the county commissioner and another individual who worked on the cars of those deployed.
In 2005, Jerry and Assured Comfort put together 20,000 Christmas Stockings, filled with snacks and personal care products that were in short supply and sent them to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. “That first year, we put together about 20,000 stockings filled with nuts, razors, etc. and it just about killed us.” Since then, the process has evolved to 60 volunteers in 2 assembly lines putting 5,000 stockings together. Jerry brings in food and a DJ to provide a fun atmosphere. “It was just a blast.” The military helped by shipping these packages overseas.
Jerry has continued to help those who serve. Last year, Assured Comfort repaired a system for a wife of an active officer while in combat. When she tried to pay them, Jerry refused payment, stating that there would be no charge. As she explained the situation to her husband, Jerry could hear incoming rounds in the background. Later this grateful serviceman told Jerry, “You took all the pressure off of me and kept me from worrying about my A/C unit, so I could make sure none of my men were hit.”
Since military operations have scaled back overseas, Jerry’s mission has shifted to Veterans in his area that are homeless. Each month, the team from Assured Comfort takes 45 bags of food and 45 bags of personal care items to the local VA which is acts as a nonofficial refuge for homeless veterans.
And he doesn’t stop there. Jerry’s plan for this Christmas is to provide every hospitalized vet with stockings filled with personal care items. He is also providing about 1000 packages to vets in nursing homes.
Jerry owns the building that his business is housed in and now dedicates 400 sq. feet of space that they use to store, stage and pack on a monthly basis to. He also has a dedicated outreach van that is used for transport as needed. In addition, Assured Comfort provides shipping to get products in and the finished packages to the airport.
Today, 4 of Jerry’s 30 employees are military veterans. One of his employees has been to Afghanistan twice. Jerry has experienced firsthand the sacrifice these men and women have made and has a deep understanding of the additional consideration that these individuals might need. Jerry is always ready to listen and has a meeting room available for Vets that want to get together or might just need to talk to their “brothers.”
Jerry recognizes that this is a profound commitment. “It’s not easy. It’s not as easy as putting a service uniform on a war Vet and thinking that everything is going to be okay. These guys need to have time to talk to people and need to have a little bit of a hall pass when they are going through some PTSD issues. It is going to take some standing back and looking at it and understanding what they say to really make it successful.” He plans to work with Troops to Trades to help other business owners understand the needs of veterans who work for them.
Jerry’s mission is indisputable and is defined by the words on his business card. More Community Involvement Making Things Happen!