West read in the news July 28 that Steven Ball, an air conditioning technician in Arkansas, died on the job while working in an attic, likely from exposure to extreme heat. West immediately felt the need to create a GoFundMe account.
NICEVILLE — According to air conditioning technician Nico West, a certain brotherhood exists within the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) community.
That brotherhood came to fruition over the weekend after We Care Heating and Air in Niceville decided to use its sadness from losing a fellow air conditioning technician and turn it into action.
West read in the news July 28 that Steven Ball, an air conditioning technician in Arkansas, died on the job while working in an attic, likely from exposure to extreme heat. West immediately felt the need to create a GoFundMe account to assist the family after such a tragic loss.
After creating the account, West searched for contact information and finally reached Ball's wife through his work phone number.
"I was shaking, to be honest with you. I was really nervous," West said. "I've never done this type of thing before."
West said Ball's wife was immediately grateful when she heard the news of the GoFundMe.
"She was just basically shocked there was an amazing outpouring of love from us," West said. "She had no idea. ... In the HVAC trade we are all brothers and sisters, and we all look out for each other."
West gave the family complete access to the account, which in only two days surpassed $20,000 in donations and had been shared almost 3,000 times. The family will put the money toward funeral expenses and bills in the following days, West said.
For West and many of his co-workers, hearing of Ball's tragic end reminded them of the dangers they face braving attic temperatures that can reach as high as 140 degrees.
"We all in the trade have to deal with attics," West said. "For us to hear about someone passing away in an attic, that hits really close to us because it could have been any of us.
"It could have been my daughter wondering where I'm at."
The link to the GoFundMe is https://www.gofundme.com/f/1p9f2xg9dc.