When a family’s cat was in serious danger, duct mechanic Roy Haislip and call center employee Jennifer Perry did not hesitate to come to its rescue. Their heroic actions and compassion for others exemplify what we always aim to achieve at W.E. Brown. Read about how the event unfolded through the eyes of Roy and Jennifer.
It Began with an Emergency Call
Around 10 p.m., call center employee, Jennifer Perry, took an emergency call that turned her average weeknight into one she would never forget. On the other line, a man asked for help, saying his cat, Oli, was trapped somewhere in his HVAC system. “He was trying to remain calm, but I could tell that he was panicked. It was actually a really serious situation,” she explained. When Jennifer first heard the story, she couldn’t believe her ears. Along with her coworkers, she had never heard of a pet climbing into ductwork through a vent, much less deployed a technician to save one.
A Family’s Final Hope
When the man revealed he already called the fire department, police department, animal control, and the emergency vet, Jennifer was determined that W.E. Brown would be his last call. “We were the last number on his list, and I knew if we didn’t help him, nobody else would. I couldn’t promise that we could save the cat, but I promised we would do everything we could to try,” she said.
After their on-call technician was unable to locate the cat overnight, he knew a co-worker would need to come back in the morning with different tools. Everyone involved had trouble sleeping, including Jennifer. When she got home, she stayed up all night on Google, learning everything she could do to help.
“It was such a stressful situation because there is only so much we could do overnight. Everyone kept telling me to sleep, but I just couldn’t. I was so worried that we wouldn’t be able to save their cat,” she recalled.
The ducts are definitely not a safe place for a cat, with risks that include electrocution, overheating, and getting harmed by sharp screws. Every hour that passed, the family grew increasingly worried and began doubting that they would be able to find him alive. However, hope began to shine through early the next morning when duct mechanic, Roy Haislip, overheard the situation. Even though a technician was already put on the schedule for later that morning, Roy didn’t hesitate to volunteer himself instead.
While Roy had never dealt with a situation like this before, his years of experience made him the best man for the job. “The ductwork is like a maze with so many different branches and directions. I have been doing this kind of work for 20 years, and you get to a point where you can picture the duct system layout in your mind. Without the knowledge of heating and air, you wouldn’t know where to start, so I’m glad he called us,” Roy explained.
Sewer Cam to the Rescue
Luckily, they had the idea to use their Sewer Camera to search the vents. After navigating the camera through the ducts, Roy was able to track down the cat’s path without being invasive or causing any damage to the home. Recalling the scene, Roy said, “when I was running the sewer camera, I actually saw little paw prints in the dust. I started to follow them when all of a sudden they dropped off, and you could see where the cat slid and had fallen down.”
They speculate that Oli had been playing with the vent and somehow pulled it up. After climbing in, he plunged down a chase that ran from the third floor to the basement. This wasn’t a minor fall by any means, given the fact he was found stuck on the furnace coil at the very bottom. Despite this, along with the fact that more than 12 hours had passed since first climbing in, Oli was miraculously unharmed.
A Tearful Reunion
“As soon as I pulled away from the section, the cat bolted right out of there as quickly as he could. He must have been terrified of being stuck in that spot all night,” Roy recalled.
The family was overwhelmed with tears of relief when they were reunited with their precious cat, Oli. The father made sure to call Jennifer, who was anxiously waiting for news at company headquarters.
After getting the phone call, Jennifer revealed, “it actually made my day when he called to thank me and told me his cat was completely unharmed. It feels really good to be able to help somebody else, to go home after work and know you made a difference.”
The Real Heroes
After his official interview ended, Roy made a statement that captures both the mentality and heart of the W.E. Brown family:
“I was happy to help them, but I never go out looking for this type of attention for it. Every day I just come in and work hard at my job, doing anything for the company and making other people happy. It’s just the type of person I am.”
The real heroes, those who put others before themselves, often go unnoticed. Sometimes an act of kindness–no matter how big or small–can make all the difference in another person’s life.
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We’re thrilled to partner with local home service companies to help the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. We’d love your help collecting donations for their Holiday Food Drive!
To get involved you can:
From canned vegetables to soup, any food donation helps. For more ideas of what to donate, see the food bank’s list of most needed items.
We are accepting donations between now and 12/31. Thank you for your help and have a happy holiday season!