Water heater donated for disabled veteran, wife

By Keith Garvin - Anchor/Reporter

HOUSTON - It's a basic, necessary appliance most people take for granted -- until they don't have one.

Ralph and Rosie Villasana of northeast Houston appreciate their new water heater now more than ever after being without one for a year. Until this past Wednesday, in order to bathe, wash dishes, or cook, Rosie would have to boil water.

The task was all hers as her husband, an Army veteran who served in the Vietnam era, is largely bedridden because of diabetes. The couple, who have been married for 45 years, is also on a fixed income.

"We thought about it, maybe one month, we were gonna go hungry," Ralph Villasana said. "Because we were gonna have to put the money out."

Enter Wendy Holland of Bears Plumbing Service in Spring, who heard about the Villasana's plight through a family member. She spoke to her boss about their dilemma. He decided to install a brand new $1,300 water heater, free of charge.

"He is a vet and we all feel that was very important and they were a family in need and under hardships," Holland said. "We just felt like it was the right thing to do."

And that means one thing -- Rosie Villasana will not have to boil water any more.

"I want to thank them so much because without this, I'd still be boiling water," she said. "And it becomes hard on your back after a while."

Her husband appreciates the efforts of Holland and company, as well.

"She keeps calling and we keep telling them thank you," Ralph Villasana said. "We really appreciate them helping us out. It's just a miracle."

The Villasanas hope to one day meet the owner of Bears Plumbing Service to thank him in person.

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