Heating a home over the winter can be costly in Alaska, especially if your appliance is on the fritz. That’s why Circle Plumbing and Heating gives away a new boiler just before Christmas every year.

KTVA met up with this year’s winner, Liz Winfree, who thought she was a finalist. Her home is a usual hangout spot for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“If they need something, I'm the one they go to,” Winfree said.

She financially helps out her two adult children who live in Anchorage and provides “spiritual guidance” for the family.

Winfree has owned her condo since 2010. The boiler is the original one put in when the home was constructed more than 30 years ago.

“They told me to start saving up money, at least $6,000. It would be better to replace it before it's broke but I’m not able to save the $6,000,” she said.

She gets the boiler serviced regularly but her technician said it’s time for a new one.

“I come home sometimes and I wonder, do I have heat?” she asked. “And what do I do if I don’t?”

The aging appliance is the reason she entered the giveaway she saw posted on Facebook.

“I thought if you don't enter, you don't win. I got this far and that's a blessing,” Winfree said.

The blessing didn’t stop there as a surprise turned up her driveway.

“Someone is outside!” her 4-year-old great-granddaughter Beth said, as the doorbell rang.

“On behalf of Circle Plumbing, you won a new boiler,” Larry Embley said, as Winfree opened the door. “

“I won? How did I win, thank you!” she said.

The boiler giveaway has become Christmas tradition for the Embley family, who owns Circle Plumbing and Heating.

“Our granddad instilled that, family and community meant a lot to him, and he passed away a few years ago,” said T.J. Embley. “We were trying to figure out a way to honor him and giving back to the community was the best way we thought we could do that."

Winfree was overcome with joy and teared up as she saw the boiler in the back of the truck.

“Thank you, and you and you,” she said, giving hugs to the Embleys.

They’re happy to give back to a woman who spends so much of her time helping others.

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