Greg Eagleburger uses a forklift Wednesday to transfer one of three pallets of fans to the back of a Salvation Army van.

As any midwesterner knows, the heat outside needs to be taken seriously at this time of the year.

Staying cool on days like this can be a challenge, although the city does have cool-down spots such as the Downtown library, but the downside is you can’t take a cool-down spot home with you.

This is where Westlake Ace Hardware on the South Belt Highway has stepped up to help those less fortunate who may not have air-conditioning this summer.

“Generally our customers are the ones that donate the money — we solicit for donations for about three weeks,” General Manager Greg Eagleburger said. “Once again, our customers came through and donated $1,933 toward fans for those that are less fortunate.”

Those fans have been donated to the Salvation Army in St. Joseph the past seven or eight years by Eagleburger’s estimation, although this is the first year new Major Laura Key has accepted them. Eagleburger helped load the fans into a Salvation Army van with a forklift Wednesday morning.

“I think the number is 127 fans to the St. Joseph community,” Key said. “We will be taking them to our location where they will be distributed.”

Not everyone gets a fan. They go to people with an income level that makes it hard for them to make extra purchases.

“We can’t help people when we don’t get help from other people in the community,” Key said. “It would have taken a pretty good hit on our budget to buy all these fans, and I know that people really appreciate it. A lot of people can’t afford air conditioning.”

The Salvation Army also is accepting donations to their food pantry. Members of the community wishing to contribute can contact the Salvation Army to learn more.

Ryan Hennessy can be reached at

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