Co-workers, company donate vacation hours to help out friend in need

CORONA, Calif.

It is the season of giving and at ARS, an air-conditioning and heating company, employees are giving their paid time off to co-worker Gene Kelly.

"Everybody likes Gene, he's a hard worker, 100 percent effort all the time. He's been with ARS over 15 years," said ARS General Manager John Butler.

"He's the head guy, comes in, can do any job that we give him," said ARS Operations Manager Patrick Mottola. "No challenge is too big for him."

But there was one challenge he would need help with: Fourteen years ago, Kelly's wife was diagnosed with cancer. She recovered, but then in September her health took a turn for the worse.

Kelly's co-workers came to his aid.

"We had used up all of my PTO time, or personal time off, and they had told me that they were going to do a donation through the shop -- all the guys were going to donate a couple hours," said Gene Kelly.

What started out as a couple hours turned into more than 400 hours of paid time off. So when the call went out to help Kelly with some additional hours, not only did his co-workers step forward, so did his company.

ARS matched employee donations for a total of 820 hours, equal to 54 days.

"I was able to stay home, take care of the kids and not have to worry about coming in here," said Kelly.

Kelly's co-workers may have to put in a few more hours on the job, but it's time well worth it to help a friend.

"I won't miss it because I feel that he needed it more than I do," said Mottola.

Kelly's wife is now on the road to recovery and he is back to work with a very special appreciation for his co-workers in this season of giving.

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