Plumbers give ‘tanks’ to veterans

Wade Roberts

Plumber Zach Jilg (left) with Wade Roberts Plumbing co-owners Vengel and Wade Roberts launched their Tanks to Our Veterans initiative that gives free hot water heaters and installation to military veterans.

Peter Mallett 
Staff Writer

A small business from Victoria has launched a special thank-you program to acknowledge the service of military veterans.

Last fall, Wade Roberts Plumbing kicked off their “Tanks To Our Veterans” initiative that gives away water heaters and free installation to three veterans from the Greater Victoria area. Veterans can be nominated by a member of the community or enter the draw themselves anytime at

This year, the draw for three tanks will take place on Remembrance Day.

The idea for the giveaway stemmed from a conversation between husband-and-wife owners Wade and Vangel Roberts and staff members regarding veterans in need.

“Our hearts were just breaking thinking of people in our community who have lost loved ones in the fight for freedom in our nation and around the world,” says Wade. “We wanted to find a way to show our respect to the veterans in our city, in memory of the fallen soldiers who never made it home.”

The military community is close to his heart. He has a step-brother-in-law serving in the Royal Canadian Navy and his nephew served in the Canadian Army.

The company’s finance manager Linda Cretney commented during that conversation about a television program she saw about a roofing company that gave away a roof to a veteran in their town.

“After Linda had mentioned this, we thought water heaters are our bread and butter so we should give away a free water tank to a veteran,” explains Wade.   

Plumber Zach Jilg asked if they could give away three water heaters in honour of his best friend Pte Chad Horn, who was one of three Canadian soldiers killed in an ambush in Afghanistan. Cpl Mike Seggie and Cpl Andrew Grenon of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry also died in the Sept. 3, 2008, RPG attack.

“Hearing Zac’s story about his personal loss inspired our whole team to pitch in, especially six of our plumbers who donated their personal time on weekends to make it happen.”

Upon hearing of the idea, local water heater vendor EMCO and supplier Rheem Canada offered to donate two of the water tanks.


Wade Roberts Tank

Affixed to each water heater given to a veteran in 2021 was a memorial plaque dedicated to the memory of fallen service member Private Chad Horn and two other fallen members. Photo credit: Wade Roberts Plumbing.


S1 (Retired) Brad Bowman, who retired from the military in 2007, was one of three recipients of last year’s inaugural giveaway. Bowman was floored to hear from his friend Leah Mack that she had entered his name in the draw and he had won.

“What a morale booster and a great thing they are doing for veterans,” says Bowman. “Since veterans aren’t in uniform anymore we don’t often get recognized for our service; so being recognized like this is really something special to me.”

A 96-year-old Second World War veteran and a Wounded Warriors Canada member won the other two free tanks.

Pte Horn’s image along with those of Cpl Seggie and Cpl Grenon are affixed to a plaque on the three water heaters. This year’s giveaway will feature the faces of three other service members who died during their military service.

Wade Roberts Tanks for our veterans

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