It started out with a wrong number, but the end result is more than anyone could have anticipated.
Chuck Stone, a 76-year-old Johnson Lane resident, had a friend who needed a fan, and he wanted to help her.
His friend, 75, lives in a Gardnerville apartment with her kitten, and is disabled. Living on less than $1,000 a month Social Security, plus other assistance, she was unable to get out to purchase a fan, nor could she afford it.
Stone said he usually chats with the woman twice a day.
“One day last week, (when we had 100-plus-degree temperatures), this poor lady called. She mentioned she didn’t know what she was going to do because the heat was really creating problems for her and her little kitten,” Stone said.
He promised “to drop everything” and try to locate a fan.
He called a few agencies, and was advised to contact Douglas County Social Services.
Either he misdialed, or had an incorrect telephone number, but he reached Bobbie Williams, chief deputy Douglas District Court clerk.
Rather than refer Stone to another department, Williams said she would take her own home fan to his friend.
The next day, Williams showed up at the woman’s apartment with the fan.
“My disabled friend called and indicated what a wonderful gift that Bobbie Williams had given her,” Stone said. “She indicated that the temperature in her apartment had now gone down, and the breeze from the fan allowed her and her little kitten to once again more comfortably survive this unexpected heat wave that we were encountering.”
Williams said Friday she’d made a new friend.
“I sort of adopted her,” Williams. “She is adorable. I took her a ‘condo’ for her cat, and she and I are going to go out to dinner.”
Stone was so impressed with Williams’ kindness that he contacted County Commission Chair Greg Lynn.
Lynn believed there must be other seniors who needed relief in the hot weather.
And the Senior Fan Drive was born.
Since the program was launched earlier this month, 30 new electric fans have been donated to the senior center. They are free for qualifying seniors over age 60 who live without air conditioning.
Nonie Luthi of Gardnerville received a fan on Friday.
“We live in a two-story house, and for the last two weeks we’ve been sleeping on the floor in front of a window, it’s so hot,” she said. “This will be awesome.”
Lynn said he was so appreciative of people like Stone and Williams who are willing to go out of their way to help without being asked.
“This is about good citizens not turning a blind eye to their neighbors,” he said.
That also goes for community members who brought fans to the senior center for distribution.
Travis Lee said the fan drive would continue through Aug. 31.
He said at least 20 would be delivered to clients of the Meals on Wheels or the Senior Service’ homemakers program.
He is requesting new electric fans to ensure the fans will be functional for 1-2 years.
Seniors in need of fans should contact Douglas County Senior Services (775) 783-6455 or stop by the center. To qualify, recipients must be 60 years of age or older. Seniors without air conditioning and those who have not previously participated in the program are a priority to receive new fans.