Fresno County 7th grader enters essay contest, wins home heater for uncle in need

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Valley man is receiving a literal, house-warming gift.

His niece wrote an essay for a contest to win a home heater.

She entered the competition to help him at a traumatic time.

Kaycie Huffman says her uncle had surgery earlier this year and she wanted to help him any way she could.

With less than 1,000 words, she was able to give her uncle and his family a gift that will last well beyond the holiday.

Huffman is a 7th grader at Dunlap Elementary School in Fresno County, and is close with her uncle, Jesse Elizondo.

In July, he received a double lung transplant after getting sick.

"She felt it here. She took it personally, and had a hard time with it," says Elizondo.

Despite new lungs, he says his swamp cooler still affects his breathing, but he can't afford a heater or AC unit.

That's when Huffman decided to enter an essay contest where she could win one for her uncle.

On Monday during Dunlap Elementary's Christmas show, she was told her warming words gave the gift of heat.

Huffman and her family were brought to tears as employees of Jack's Refrigeration announced her essay as the winner.

"I felt they were so deserving after everything they'd been through and they deserved this for the holidays," says Huffman.

David Barnes of Jack's Refrigeration says, "In this season of giving to others, it's what we're looking for."
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