How a Port Moody retiree helps different seniors keep cool throughout warmth waves

One individual at a time could make a distinction says Wilhelmina Martin, who’s gathering used air conditioners for seniors

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Wilhelmina Martin has been known as a number of issues in her life: A candystriper when she was a 14-year-old, an RN when she graduated nursing faculty in 1974, and simply plain “Willy” to mates.

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Now she’s generally known as “the air-conditioning woman.”

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The 68-year-old Port Moody retiree is asking the general public for donations of used moveable air conditioners so she will donate the models to different native seniors in want.

“It’s going to be a scorching one this yr,” mentioned Martin, a longtime volunteer with the Dogwood Pavilion seniors society and Port Moody seniors friendship society.

When the warmth dome struck in the summertime of 2021, killing 619 folks, Martin sprang into motion.

“I used to be watching the tales unfold, and listening to the information. Most people who died have been seniors. My mates are seniors, my neighbour are seniors. I started calling round, asking if that they had cooling, or did they need assistance,” mentioned Martin.

“I used to be pondering again to my very own circumstances.”

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Fifteen years in the past, when she was a full-time caregiver to her late father, she put in a warmth pump. He grumbled in regards to the air con, however when the climate heated up, “he was the primary individual to ask me to show it on,” mentioned Martin.

“I do know that many individuals are upgrading to warmth pumps. I wish to join with these folks, to donate the moveable models they aren’t utilizing,” mentioned Martin.

That first summer season, Martin sourced and donated seven cooling models. Final summer season, she was in a position to donate six, and up to now this yr she has collected 4 models.

“Lots of people don’t know the place to go to get assist,” mentioned Martin, who recollects a low-income senior reaching out to her in the course of the 2021 warmth dome. “She had been admitted to the hospital attributable to warmth stroke, and so they wouldn’t discharge her until she may present she had someplace cool to go.”

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Martin opened up her own residence to the senior to get her by means of the warmth wave. She was the primary senior Martin sourced a donated air conditioner for.

Extra than simply air con models is required — Martin mentioned many seniors she donates to can’t afford to run the air conditioners for quite a lot of minutes a day, due to the way it impacts their hydro payments.

“My subsequent overture goes to be to B.C. Hydro to subsidize the price of further cooling. There must be a approach of serving to low-income seniors with their hydro payments to allow them to afford to run their air conditioners,” mentioned Martin.

Some seniors are afraid to ask for, and even take into account, an air con unit as a result of they’re hesitant about the associated fee.

“The second half of this piece is discovering a approach to assist them pay for it,” mentioned Martin.

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Just lately she acquired an e-mail not too long ago from a person who defined he was dying of most cancers.

“He mentioned he’s looking for the air con woman in order that he may assist.”

“It’s one individual at a time that may make a distinction,” mentioned Martin.

Anybody who needs to donate a working moveable air con unit can attain out by e-mail to:

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