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Plumber plays Santa for widow on Christmas Day

Tom Newcomb replaced Lillian Maggio's water heater for free

Tom Newcomb replaced Lillian Maggio's water heater for free

December 28, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

SPRING MILLS, W.Va. -- Plumber Tom Newcomb became Lillian Maggio's "Christmas angel" after the tank of her hot-water heater sprung a leak.

The 78-year-old Spring Mills woman, who is recovering from hip surgery, said Newcomb not only answered her emergency call for help on Christmas Day, but made the repairs for free that day.

"I don't mean to cry, but he was so wonderful," Maggio said tearfully. "I'm still in shock."

After talking with her and realizing her financial limitations, Newcomb said, "I felt in my heart that it was the right thing to do."

Maggio said the emergency holiday call for service to Newcomb's A Plus Plumbing business in Martinsburg, W.Va., would have cost her more than $500.

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After eating Christmas dinner, Newcomb went to Maggio's home in the Spring Mills subdivision and replaced the water-heating unit, but then told her there would be no bill for the work.

Newcomb said he believes the tank was about 10 years old and the leak caused some water damage in a mechanical room in the garage where the unit was installed.

Neighbor Eva June Kavookian, who contacted The Herald-Mail about Newcomb's generosity, said she and her husband received a call from an upset Maggio on Christmas Day and went to her home to help.

"We did not know any plumbers, as we are fairly new to the Martinsburg area, so I had to take a chance on the old standby, the Yellow Pages," Kavookian recalled in an e-mail. 

"I was leafing through the Yellow Pages looking for a local company who promised 24-hour service. I gave the number to Lillian, she dialed, fully expecting to get a recording saying they were closed for Christmas, but to our surprise the owner ... answered, listened to Lillian's problem and said he would be there in one hour and would bring a new water heater with him in case the old one could not be repaired," Kavookian said in the e-mail.

"We want everyone to know about Tom Newcomb, a man of faith and goodness," Kavookian said. "He deserves our recommendation, gratitude and patronage. Our world needs more people like Tom."

Kavookian said she didn't know until later that Newcomb, who has owned the plumbing business for seven years, is chief of the Bedington Volunteer Fire Department and has been a volunteer firefighter for many years.

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