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Volunteer receives the gift of indoor temperature control

Sara Bartley is a humble woman. When her friend and neighbor, Gail Harris, wrote a letter recommending her as a recipient of a new heating and air-conditioning unit as a reward for her volunteer work, Bartley was quick to point out that there are many other people who do what she does.

“She made me sound like Mother Teresa,” said Bartley, who received the unit through the Help A Home contest. “I’m just an average person. There’s nothing unique about me.”

Yes! Air Conditioning & Plumbing, the company that hosted the contest, disagreed with Bartley’s assessment of herself, and in August, the company and its partners installed the new unit at her Paradise-area home.

“Sara devotes the majority of her time to volunteering at a local elementary school but does not have a steady income,” company spokeswoman Nicky Sulon said. “We decided of the many entries we received, she was the most worthy.”

The Help A Home program was designed to honor deserving individuals or families, and the units it distributes are meant to provide comfort and improve indoor air quality.

“Her home has its original HVAC system, which frequently stops working and quickly runs up her electricity bill during summer months,” wrote Harris. “Mrs. Bartley is a special needs teaching assistant at local Peterson Elementary School, where she also volunteers as a Girl Scouts leader. Although Bartley is said to be very self-sufficient, she has had a recent string of unfortunate events in her home and does not have sufficient income to pay for repairs.”

Yes! Air Conditioning & Plumbing joined forces with Goodman Manufacturing, which donated the unit and helped install it, and Desert Crane Service Inc., which helped deliver it.

“We hope to do this again every year,” Sulon said. “We had so many great entries this year.”

In August, Bartley said she was happy to be enjoying a home that was less than 80 degrees.

“I’ve got great neighbors and friends here,” Bartley said. “I’m glad I don’t have to move away because my air conditioning doesn’t work.”

Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at or 702-380-4532.