Military family goes months without heat after relocating to Indiana

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- CBS4 Problem Solvers is stepping in to help a military family who have gone months without heat in their home.

When Kyle and Amanda Lee moved their growing family from North Carolina to West Lafayette last year, they thought they had everything figured out. They bought a house and started renovating it with money they set aside, but issues quickly started to pile up.

"We didn't forsee the heat being an issue," Kyle Lee said.

Lee, who is a longtime Air Force member, has deployed three times. He previously specialized in refueling, but it's fuel of a different kind that has left him frustrated. The Lee's new home came with an oil heating system, one that experts say is typically only seen in older, rural homes these days.

The family spent thousands of dollars for oil, but they say they've been told that oil likely leaked out of the underground tank, and no one has been able to fully diagnose their heating issue. They do know no matter what's wrong, it's going to cost them.

"Anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000," Lee said.

"That's why I reached out to Wish for Our Heroes, because I just felt everything had just collapsed on us and there was nothing else to do," Amanda Lee said.

Wish for Our Heroes, a national organization based in Indianapolis, connected CBS4 Problem Solvers to the Lee family, hoping to get them some help. The group assists as many military members and veterans as possible, so sometimes they call in outside help to make that happen.

"We try to get the community involved, that way everyone gets a hand in helping our heroes," vice president Erich Orrick said.

Orrick said he knows it's not easy for a family like this to ask for help, especially since Kyle is working long hours for the Air Force.

"We really want them to worry about their mission rather than the stuff that’s going on back home," Orrick said.

For the Lee's, that's a welcome message. They said living without heat is getting easier as the weather slowly warms up, but the sooner they can get it fixed, the better they'll feel, especially since Amanda Lee is due with their second child later this month.

"Our first winter in Indiana, it's been an experience," Kyle Lee said.

"There's no words to describe gratitude for any kind of help with it," Amanda Lee said.

CBS4 Problem Solvers has already begun reaching out for help for the Lee family and will keep viewers updated on their case. You can contact us at (317) 677-1544 or ProblemSolvers@cbs4indy.com. More information about Wish for Our Heroes is at the link here.

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