80-year-old volunteer keeps Summer Fan Drive in motion

Summer Fan Drive volunteer Dorothy Goodwin poses with firefighters while picking up fan donations from a north Austin fire station (Courtesy/Michelle Tanzola)
Summer Fan Drive volunteer Dorothy Goodwin poses with firefighters while picking up fan donations from a north Austin fire station (Courtesy/Michelle Tanzola)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN is proud to partner with Family Eldercare for the 27th annual Summer Fan Drive, benefiting local residents who cannot afford — or do not have — air conditioning.

More than 85,000 fans have been distributed to those in need through this event’s history. The success of the drive depends on the generosity of Central Texans, but also on a team of volunteers.

Dorothy Goodwin is one of them, an 80-year-old woman who has become well-known around Austin fire stations. You can call her a hard worker, but you cannot call her shy. “Firefighters! Hot!” she exclaimed during a group photo with the firefighters at a station in north Austin.

She hasn’t been spending her retirement relaxing in the shade, but instead working in the heat, rounding up donated fans from local fire stations and delivering them to the Family Eldercare distribution center.

“I make quite a few trips,” Goodwin said. “Several hundred miles a summer.” Lt. Jonathon Fox of the Austin Fire Department receives numerous calls for heat exhaustion this time of year, and is all too familiar with the need for volunteers like her.

“I used to work at another fire station and she would stop by there and pick up fans,” Lt. Fox said. “I guess if we could have more people like that in the community, we’d be doing better.”

Dorothy says she doesn’t mind sweating in the summer sun to help out her neighbors.

“While you have the time, the effort and the money to be able to do this, you need to do it now,” she said. “Because later, you may need this same service. I’m getting old, and it may be that I’m going to have to pass this on to someone else soon. But as long as I’m able, I’ll be out there and doing.”

We encourage you to come join KXAN at Fans from Fans, taking place from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. at Threadgill’s at 301 W. Riverside Dr., then from 4-7 p.m. at Hanover’s 2.0 in Round Rock at 16912 N. Interstate 35. You can donate online anytime here.


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