Featured Story

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Deputy Sheriff Earl Burdette welcomed — even on a cool, cloudy March day — the donation of a window unit air conditioner from Serena Morrow. The air conditioner is the first of 50 that Burdette hopes to have collected by the end of April for distribution during June through August to elderly people in homes with no air conditioner. The Panolian photo by John Howell Sr.

Window unit a/c donation spurs drive for cooler summer

What began with the simple donation of a window air conditioner to Panola Deputy Sheriff Earl Burdette quickly grew into a movement early this week.

“We had central air and didn’t need it,” Serena Morrow said about a small window unit that had been used by her mother prior to her death.

“I read about you in the paper and I’ve been wanting to help you for years,” Morrow told Burdette. The deputy checks with about 20 elderly residents each week as well as others whose needs come to his attention.

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Among those needs, year-in and year-out, are heat and cooling during the extremes of winter and summer. He has sought firewood for people with wood-burning heaters and has channeled donations of propane fuel to others.

“I had one man here in town who bought five tanks of propane,” he told Morrow when they met Tuesday at the newspaper office.

During the summer, Burdette has helped to establish shelters in air conditioned locations such as churches where elderly people could go during hot summer days. He has also provided fans and air conditioners.

Morrow said that when she realized that her small window air conditioning unit could be donated to help with Burdette’s aid to the elderly, she also realized that other people might have unused window units.

“Everybody has seen old air conditioner units sitting in a barn or somewhere,” Morrow said. “They may not work, but at least try it.”

Morrow and Burdette on Tuesday morning set a goal of collecting 50 air conditioners by the end of April for distribution this summer. By noon, they only had 41 left to collect. Burdette said that he would buy two small units himself and Sheriff Otis Griffin said that he would donate six units.

Burdette said that monetary donations to pay for electricity and fuel can be made to the Panola County Sheriff’s Relief Fund. In-kind donations like air conditioners are logged into a journal which records the donor and the recipient.
To make a donation or for further information, contact Burdette at 662-519-1290.