The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Reporter's notebook: Beat the heat


June 16, 2018

In the mounting heat of summer, Clovis’ Craig Tatum hopes his “Operation Cooldown” initiative will take off like wildfire.

After Tatum found his grandparents last month without functional air conditioning in Hobbs — while outside temperatures exceeded 100 degrees — he fixed their unit and decided he didn’t want other elderly to suffer something similar. Soon enough he realized the struggle to stay cool in the summer was an issue for “all kinds of people, all walks of life,” he said.

After creating a Facebook group for the purpose of identifying people in need of fans, water and air conditioning units or repairs, he “was getting maybe 30, 40, 50 messages a night.”

Tatum said friends and business owners also reached out to him to help, and on Thursday he said the effort had grown to 700 members on the web group and he had served at least 20 people with hand-deliveries.

His challenge now is to sort through some logistics and identify how to best connect some of the community largesse with people who need it. Five pallets amounting to 350 cases of water were contributed this week, he said, and a local air conditioner repair business had offered its services to the project.

“For us to be a small community, I think it’s real important that we need to come together as far as trying to help each other out,” he said. “My main purpose in this is hoping to influence people to take the initiative — especially people that have a little money — take the initiative and help somebody out.”

Those interested in learning more about the project can contact Tatum via the “Operation Cooldown” Facebook group, he said.

— Compiled by Staff Writer David Grieder


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