Shelby County Mayor's office helps elderly sisters stay cool

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Shelby County Mayor's Office stepped in after learning a 94-year-old woman and her 87-year-old sister were without air conditioning.

The 94-year-old woman, who asked to remain anonymous, takes care of her bedridden sister.  Despite her difficult situation, she said her pride made it hard to accept the county's favor.

Eugene Leech, a senior citizens advocate in Shelby County, became aware of the two elderly sisters whose air conditioning went out.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to serve our community," Leech said.

A repair man told the woman it would cost $400 to put freon in her broken air conditioner.  The only unit working in her two-bedroom house is in the room with her bedridden sister.  It has been that way all season.

"I just want to keep her cool, because in bed it's hot," she said.

The rest of the house is hot.  The sisters have little money coming in, and life is not cheap.

"Her medicine is $1,000 a month, and that's a lot of money," the woman said.

Action News 5 contacted the Shelby County Mayor's Office to see if their senior program had an air conditioning unit for the sisters.  Chief of Staff Pamela Marshall said they will take action.

"Tuesday morning, that's what we will do," Marshall said.  "Take the information you all have and take an air conditioner to her home."

Though the sisters are grateful, they admitted it was hard to take a handout.

"Nobody has ever given us anything," the woman said.  "We've always taken care of everything ourselves.  I don't expect the public to take care of me, that's for sure."

Leech was thankful for the county's help.

"I appreciate the county doing this," Leech said.  "There are a lot of needy people out there."

The county said they plan to deliver and install the new unit tomorrow morning.

For more information about the program to help seniors stay cool, call (901) 545-4311.

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