Senior keeps cool during summer heat thanks to Fan Drive

James Walsh is thankful for the donated fan from Family Eldercare. (KXAN Photo)
James Walsh is thankful for the donated fan from Family Eldercare. (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — You don’t even have to look at the forecast to know it’s heating up outside. But for some folks in Central Texas, the big concern is the heat inside.

James Walsh knows Texas summers all too well.

“Oh gosh, it gets really, really hot,” Walsh said. “Steamy.”

Walsh is on a fixed income, living in subsidized housing and relies on an oxygen tank.

“The heat takes a toll on my body. When it gets really hot, it seems like the oxygen doesn’t even help,” he said.

Walsh looks forward to Family Eldercare’s Summer Fan Drive every year. Not only are the fans his lifeline, they prevent him from paying nearly double on his electric bill every month.

“The heat takes a toll on my body.”

“You can take a fan and a wet rag and you can almost cool off without an air conditioner as you can with just an air conditioner. It makes a lot of difference,” he said.

A box fan may seem insufficient but it can have a major impact in the way it cools down the body.

“They can lower your body temperature by up to eight degrees, so for somebody who is medically fragile or people who are vulnerable like seniors or children, it can make the difference in their health and safety,” said Jenny Burden with Family Eldercare.

The organization gives out more than 6,000 fans every summer and continues to see the need rise.

“Central Texas has the fastest growing senior population of almost anywhere in the country and that need certainly grows and grows and grows every year,” Burden says.

As mother nature starts to crank up the heat, Walsh knows he’s one of the lucky ones.

“I feel very, very fortunate, they’ve been a godsend, they truly, truly have,” he said.

To find out if you qualify for a fan, or to donate to Family Eldercare click here. KXAN is a proud sponsor of the Summer Fan Drive and on Friday, June 16, there is a big kick-off event at Threadgill’s in south Austin. Get the full information on how you can help here. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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