Salvation Army, TXU Give A/C Units to Elderly Customers, West Residents

Although summer's drawing to a close, it's still plenty hot.

But for about a dozen families in central Texas, it's a little cooler now.

TXU and the Salvation Army on Monday partnered to hand out window air conditioning units and box fans for the second time this summer.

One of the bigger ones went to Thomas San Miguel. He has a slew of health problems: heart trouble, diabetes, partial blindness.

He and his wife Patricia live on a fixed disability income in a house without central air.

"It feels like an oven, all summer it did," Thomas said. "We have fans, but they blow hot air."

So they stopped by the Salvation Army Monday to pick up their free A/C unit and another box fan.

It's one of 11 units the group gave out with help from TXU.

"God needs to bless all those people that are doing this," said Thomas.

The units went to those TXU customers and West residents who needed them most, specifically the old and young.

At a price to the two groups of between $130 and $200, it's not a huge expenditure.

"They're quite minimal" in terms of cost, said Sarah Miller, director of social services for the Salvation Army, "but are very valuable to the families."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says about 1,700 people die each year from heat stroke.

Texas is one of three states that make up almost half of those. Four out of five are over the age of 50.

"They will definitely still get good use of [the unit] and will have it for next year as well," Miller said.

When we went with the San Miguels to their home at around 10 a.m. Monday, it was already heating up.

"I keep ahold of this towel," Thomas said, wiping sweat off of his face.

Just a little bit later, we had the new unit in.

Eight-thousand BTUs will keep the couple cool, and stop Thomas from having to go to the Salvation Army just to sit in A/C.

"Ya'll didn't furnish a blanket with it. Right? Or a jacket," Thomas joked when we turned on the new unit for the first time.

And even with hottest months behind us, there's always next year.

This is the second time the groups have given out the units this summer. The first time was last month, when they provided 35 of them.


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