Ahwatukee community rallies around neighbor living without AC for 3 years

Neighbors stepped in to help Bill Klesenski’s after finding out his AC unit hasn’t been working for three years and he couldn’t afford a new one or a repair.
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 4:38 PM MST
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AHWATUKEE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- An Ahwatukee neighborhood is stepping up after learning about a man who has been living in his home without air conditioning for the last three years. “If it was my parent I would want the same thing. He has no family, no kids, a sister that lives in New York,” said Kim Steinwinder.

Steinwinder lives across the street from Bill Klesenski, a 70-year-old retired architect with Gravis disease. “In 2012, I was diagnosed with Gravis; it wasn’t as bad as this,” explained Klesenski. “I can’t sketch, I can’t draw, it’s gone. It’s all I ever was.”

Steinwinder said she didn’t know much about her neighbor, other than that he’s been living alone since his wife passed in 2015. But, on Sunday, she saw on her surveillance camera that he showed up at her door. “When my oldest son came home I said, ‘who is this man?’ He said, ‘mom that’s Bill.’ Immediately alarms went off,” Steinwinder said. “I came over here, I’m pounding on the door, ringing the doorbell — nothing. Banging on the garage — nothing. So I went to the backyard.”

She discovered Klesenski was living in the back room of his house. “During the summer I live in the one room in the back that I can have a window unit,” he said.

Klesenski said he didn’t mean to knock on Steinwinder’s door. “I saw a portable unit in their next-door neighbor’s garage, so I went over and asked if he wanted to sell it,” Klesenski explained.

However, it turns out, Steinwinder’s door may have been the right door to knock on all along. After hearing that Klesenski’s AC unit hasn’t been working for three years and he couldn’t afford a new one or a repair, she posted his story on Ahwatukee411. That’s when the owner of Aragon Airvac Heating and Cooling reached out to her.

“I just said hey, I’m available. I can come out to you. I won’t charge you guys. Sounds like you have a situation where we just need a second opinion,” said Austin Aragon. “I felt like, I could do this and I should do this and give back to my community, give back to Bill.”

Aragon looked at Klesenski’s air conditioner and saw that he needed a new compressor. “Realistically I could have maybe ordered a new compressor and put a Bandaid on it, but the cost of a repair versus a replacement, it just didn’t make sense,” said Aragon. “I want to make sure this is done properly so that bill doesn’t have to worry about this for the next ten years.”

Aragon and Steinwinder set up a GoFundMe to help pay for the new unit and any other expenses Klesenki may need help with. “Anything over and above that $6,000, it has been decided amongst Austin and I, that it will go towards doing what we need to do for Mr. Bill — providing extra filters for the home, he has agreed to let me come in and clean the house and get the dust out and get things organized to make it a better living condition for him,” said Steinwinder.

Klesenski says he never thought his community would step up for him like this. “I’ve never won like a lottery. I’ve heard of crowdfunding but I never thought that it was real, not for me,” Klesenski said. “I never wanted to be a burden on anyone.”

Aragon hopes to have Klesenski’s new AC unit installed this weekend or early next week.