It’s full steam ahead for Stammer

By Amanda Lauer | For The Compass | February 1, 2017

Appleton Catholic offers his talents to parish, keeps heating, cooling systems running

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]APPLETON — This time of year, most people take it for granted that their church will be warm when they go to Mass every week. But that heat doesn’t keep running on its own. It takes people with a particular skill set to maintain the heating and cooling systems for large facilities like churches.

While many parishes have hired help to keep those systems running, Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish is fortunate to have a volunteer who regularly keeps everything in proper working order.

Your Catholic Neighbor: Bob Stammer (Amanda Lauer | For The Compass)

Bob Stammer, who is a steam fitter service technician and works for Mechanical Technologies, Inc. in Green Bay, is a lifelong member of Sacred Heart and has been helping out with maintenance there since he was a teenager.

“I started in this trade when I was 18 years old. I did a five-year apprenticeship program,” said Stammer. “We had a maintenance guy at Sacred Heart. He did a lot of the mundane things on the system and I’d come in and take care of little issues and anytime there’s anything of any size, we’d run it through my contractor for insurance purposes. They’ve been very good about me volunteering time here. They’ve been very helpful.”

When the maintenance person quit two years ago, Stammer took over the all the duties working with the heating and cooling system. “The boilers, the heating system throughout the facility, in every room on the campus, there is some sort of heating equipment. … All the temperature controls, I take care of that,” he said.

He generally works his schedule around his job with Mechanical Technologies, which has variable hours. “That’s the nature of my trade, our days are not structured — they’re very dynamic.”

Stammer uses his skills at church as a service technician but considers himself primarily a trouble shooter. He does install things as well. Currently he is in the middle of a large project — the overhaul of the heating system.

“Right now we have a pneumatic control system from the ’50s here. We have to upgrade the pneumatics to this new system.” He said it is the first of about three phases. “We’re breaking it up into chewable bites because it’s expensive.”

The initial part of the project is working in the church basement replacing controls in the boiler room. “Then we put in a thing called the network manager and some other controls, so that network manager can be used for other phases in the building,” he said. “The second phase would be the first floor, including the gymnasium and maybe the cafeteria and then the third phase would be the second floor.”

During the heating season, Stammer is at Sacred Heart about three times a week but it’s less busy other times of the year.

“We have a couple of rooms with air conditioning, but not too many,” he said. “In the summer there’s very little that I need to take care of. There’s off-season maintenance that I do.” Because the church heating system runs by steam, Stammer has to take water samples in the winter. “We have to take care of water chemistry so I’m here a couple of times a week for sure taking care of that.”

Both Stammer and his wife Sue have been active volunteers at Sacred Heart in traditional roles the 33 years they’ve been married. Stammer is currently on the building and grounds committee and is also an extraordinary minister of holy Communion. He’s proud to say that all four of their children, ranging in age from 17 to 30, are practicing members of Sacred Heart Parish too.

Volunteering for the church and helping out with the day-to-day activities gives a person a sense of belonging to the parish, said Stammer. He would encourage other people to follow suit.

“It makes me feel like I’m contributing, like I’m doing something worthwhile,” he said. “I enjoy the community of parishioners that are here. Helping out with my talent makes me feel closer to my faith community. To me, it’s different than just any group of people. We all work as disciples of God. It’s very heart-warming.”

Save[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]Name: Bob Stammer

Your Catholic Neighbor

Parish: Sacred Heart of Jesus, Appleton

Age: 56

Favorite saint: Jude

Words to live by: “If you do your best, God will take care of the rest.”[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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