Working-class couple, frozen without a furnace, finds saving grace in Akron auto business

AKRON, OH (WOIO) - A working-class couple from Akron was desperate for a new furnace after their old unit died before Thanksgiving.

Michael and Vera Woollard barely had enough money to make ends meet, and couldn't get the cash together to fix the defunct furnace.

The couple pulled space heaters into their bedroom, hung quilts over windows and began to feel panic as temps plummeted to arctic levels.

"I thought we were going to freeze to death," said Michael. "We didn't know where to turn."

However, the Woollards had established strong relationships with local businesses, including the J.D. Byrider on Canton Avenue near their Akron home.

They bought three cars from the auto outlet over the years, and the familiar sales team got word their customers were freezing -- literally.

General Manager Steve Lawson worked with his peers and collected the funds necessary to purchase the distressed couple a new heating unit.

"They saved us," said Michael. "They helped us when we didn't expect it, and we can't thank them enough."

The installation was completed on Friday, just in time to ring in 2018.

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